Society

Once upon a time, there were Kurds

Visiting my hometown of Diyarbakır last week, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate for Istanbul mayor, Binali Yıldırım, said that when Turkey’s parliament was first established, “a Kurdistan deputy” was among those invited to participate by the… Nurcan Baysal Ahval Yet for years, many people, including myself, have been subject to investigation for using the term Kurdistan. Encompassing southeastern Turkey as well as parts of Iraq, Syria, and Iran, Kurdistan is a place that alternatively exists and does ... Read More »

Melbourne’s Indigenous people in grips of mental health crisis

It’s a wet Wednesday morning in Thomastown and all the patients Dr Peter Walsh has seen so far have severe mental health problems. One is suicidal, another is experiencing drug-induced psychosis. Miki Perkins The Age It’s not unusual for most – sometimes all – of the patients in a day at this new Aboriginal health service to be in the midst of a full-blown, severe mental health crisis. The clinic’s Melbourne-based patients experience trauma and mental health conditions more often ... Read More »

Elder abuse increasing, without increased awareness

About 16% of older adults are victims of some form of mistreatment and the number of reported cases of elder abuse is steadily increasing. Authors: The Conversation Because of poor record-keeping, however, those of us who study elder abuse don’t know if the trend reflects an actual increase, an increase because of growing numbers of older adults, or only an… Elder abuse involves intentional or unintentional acts that result in physical, emotional or financial harm to an individual who is ... Read More »

Irish economy caught between overheating and Brexit, ESRI chief warns

Formulating budgetary policy extremely difficult given uncertain outlook, says chief economist The Irish economy is on a knife-edge, poised between “overheating” and a major Brexit-related downturn, the State’s chief economist has warned. Eoin Burke-Kennedy The Irish Times John McCarthy described the situation as “extraordinarily complex” and uncertain, saying it made forming budgetary policy extremely difficult. He said overheating could transform rapidly into “underheating” as a result of a cyclical downturn internationally, made worse by Brexit and trade tensions between the ... Read More »

Australia has spent over $700m to curb domestic violence — but it’s unclear if it’s working

After almost a decade of action and more than $700 million spent, a scathing review has raised concerns about the effectiveness of Australia’s domestic violence strategy. By political reporter Eliza Laschon ABC Commonwealth auditor-general Grant Hehir reviewed the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, arguing the Department of Social Services’ effectiveness in implementing the… “Performance monitoring, evaluation and reporting is not sufficient to provide assurance that governments are on track to achieve the National Plan’s overarching ... Read More »

Paul Keating pays tribute to ‘great friendship’ with Bob Hawke

Read former prime minister Paul Keating’s eulogy at Bob Hawke’s memorial service. When Bob invited me over to see him, the better part of a year ago, he and I were again joining the circle on the great friendship and partnership that drove the longest reform period in the country’s history. The Sydney Morning Herald Eight and a half years we were together and with a great cabinet we were able to give the country what it formerly never had ... Read More »

Hong Kong protests against extradition bill spurred by fears about long arm of China

The dramatic protests unfolding in Hong Kong evoke memories of the most sensational episodes of the country’s “umbrella movement” five years ago at the very same sites. Malte Phillipp Kaeding The Conversation At the end of the unprecedented 79 days occupation in 2014, demanding genuine universal suffrage, protesters vowed to be back. Few would have expected that it would be so quick and with such vengeance. A mass demonstration on June 9 was followed by protests three days later that ... Read More »

Children with autism may use memory differently. Understanding this could help us teach them

Around one in every 70 Australians are on the autism spectrum. The proportion of children with autism is higher – more than 80% of all Australians on the autism spectrum are aged under 25. John Munro The Conversation Autism is most prevalent among school-aged children between 5 and 14. Many of these children have social, learning, communication and intellectual difficulties. The high proportion of children on the autism spectrum presents an obvious challenge to teachers and the learning environment. One ... Read More »

Chilling documentary exposes the grim truth behind China’s one-child policy

A horrific legacy of forced sterilisation, child abandonment and state-sponsored kidnappings has been exposed in a haunting new doco. Ben Graham News.Com.Au It wasn’t until acclaimed documentary-maker Nanfu Wang moved to the US and had a child of her own that she began to look at her upbringing in China in a whole new light. In a harrowing and deeply personal new documentary — One Child Nation — that’s screening at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, she describes the rush ... Read More »

German court rules mass-killing of male chicks legal

A top German court has ruled that it is still lawful for poultry and egg producers to kill unwanted male chicks. BBC The ruling, by Germany’s Federal Administrative Court on Thursday, backs companies on a temporary basis until an alternative can be found. Mass-culling of male chicks is common practice in industrialised farming around the world. After being sexed, billions of the baby birds are killed shortly after birth – usually by grinding or gassing. Officials say this means about ... Read More »

The Keys to Restarting Nicaragua’s Stalled Talks

President Daniel Ortega’s government has released almost all political prisoners held since Nicaragua’s April 2018 uprising. ICG It should stay this course, honouring its other commitments to the opposition in national dialogue. International actors should promise consequences if the government drags its feet. Principal Findings What’s new?  A year after countering a civic uprising with lethal force, President Daniel Ortega’s government has reached agreement with Nicaragua’s opposition on two issues: releasing all political prisoners and strengthening citizens’ rights. Despite significant ... Read More »

Silenced.

Australian children are being placed in harm’s way by the legal structure designed to determine their best interests — the family law system. By Emily Clark and Heidi Davoren ABC James* says the earliest memories of his childhood involve being sexually and physically abused by his father. Also etched into his memory are the occasions he tried to tell someone what was going on and the system that didn’t believe him. James told his mother about the alleged abuse and ... Read More »

Italy passes law to fine people who rescue refugees at sea

Repeat offenders risk having boats seized Italy has passed a law to fine any boat rescuing refugees from sea up to €50,000 (£44,000), despite hundreds having died en route this year. Samuel Osborne Independent Those who repeatedly violate the law risk having their boats seized. The regulation also allows undercover police investigations of possible trafficking operations and approves electronic eavesdropping on suspected people smugglers. “I think we have approved a step forward for the security of this country,” said Matteo Salvini, Italy’s ... Read More »

Australia’s refugee policy is out of step with global standards and breaks international law: report

A world-leading research centre on refugee law says no one thought about how offshore detention of refugees and asylum seekers would end when it was introduced almost 20 years ago. Maani Truu SBS Now, a plan has been released to pave the way towards a more sustainable and humane future. The government needs to take several steps to bring Australia’s refugee policy in line with other countries around the world and to comply with its international obligations, a… The University ... Read More »

How did one of the safest cities in the world descend into violence?

Hong Kong (CNN) – Hong Kong is an extremely safe city. Darkened streets don’t harbor the same dangers that might be found in other major cities, but in recent years, simmering tensions over the city’s political future have created an underlying sense of unease. Analysis by James Griffiths, CNN While any metropolis of seven million will have some crime, violence is incredibly uncommon — around 2,600 violent crimes were recorded by police in the first four months of this year, ... Read More »

Ethics of AI: how should we treat rational, sentient robots – if they existed?

Imagine a world where humans co-existed with beings who, like us, had minds, thoughts, feelings, self-conscious awareness and the capacity to perform purposeful actions – but, unlike us, these beings had artificial mechanical bodies that could be switched on and off. Hugh McLachlan The Conversation That brave new world would throw up many issues as we came to terms with our robot counterparts as part and parcel of everyday life. How should we behave towards them? What moral duties would ... Read More »