Society

The AI Road to Serfdom?

Estimates of job losses in the near future due to automation range from 9% to 47%, and jobs themselves are becoming ever more precarious. Robert Skidelsky Project Syndicate Should we trust the conventional economic narrative according to which machines inevitably raise workers’ living standards? LONDON – Surveys from round the world show that people want secure jobs. At the same time, they have always dreamed of a life free from toil. The “rise of the robots” has made the tension between these ... Read More »

Ireland’s new abortion service is the envy of many healthcare systems

I am incredibly proud as a GP to be part of something so worthwhile and rewarding Mark Murphy The Irish Times I never thought I would be a provider of abortion services. It’s not that surprising really. Abortion was not mentioned once in the medical curriculum when I qualified 14 years ago. It was an unspoken phenomenon, a secret reality. Before I became a GP, I never had a real conversation about abortion. It’s astonishing to consider that fact now, knowing that 25 ... Read More »

US deficit suggests impending economic avalanche

As many of the world economies teeter on the brink of a recession, the richest economy in the world is flirting with stagflation — growing inflation without economic growth — and a trillion-dollar national debt that threatens the… Fred Shoaff The Daily Illini Due to recent tax cuts, military spending and budget conflicts between Democrats and Republicans, Donald Trump’s American economy is heading toward an “extremely imbalanced” path… The tax cuts that were supposed to reignite the economy and create ... Read More »

Sixth wastewater report reveals Australians spend over $9.3 billion a year on drugs

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission today released the sixth report of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program providing longer-term insights into drug consumption as the… Using wastewater data between August 2017 to August 2018, it is estimated that more than 9.6 tonnes of methylamphetamine is consumed in Australia each year, as well as more than 4 tonnes of… The street price of this quantity of these four drugs is valued at around $9.3 billion, underlining the ... Read More »

Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art is an exercise in spectacle

The exhibition Heaven and Earth in Chinese Art, Treasures from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, is the first major loan to Australia from this repository of what have become the canonical art works of… John Clark The Conversation It deserves to be seen by all those interested in Chinese art, and hopefully will be the precursor for many such loans in the future. Perhaps it will also prod the National Palace Museum in Beijing to do a major loan exhibition, ... Read More »

US-born Islamic State supporter in Syria won’t be allowed to return, Pompeo says

Secretary of state says Hoda Muthana ‘is not a US citizen and will not be admitted’ into the US MEE and agencies The United States is refusing to allow an American-born supporter of the Islamic State (IS) group to return to the country, after she left for Syria to join the militant group, Mike Pompeo has said. In a brief statement on Wednesday, the US secretary of state said Hoda Muthana, 24, “is not a US citizen and will not ... Read More »

Against ‘Suffocation’ of Azov Sea: Ukraine Pleading EU for Help Against Russia

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that his country would like to see the European Union and the European Investment Bank (EIB) engaged in efforts to avoid the “suffocation” of its Azov Sea shore. Written by @Eubulletin | The Azov Sea is a strategic territory coveted by Moscow. Russia has recently constructed a bridge across the Kerch strait, which Kyiv considers unlawful. Moscow moreover put in place controls over the international ships crossing the strait and Kyiv suspects that Russia ... Read More »

Labour centrists quit party, recalling failed 80s experiment

London: Seven British Labour MPs have quit their party and set up as a group of independents, saying politics in Britain is “broken” and criticising Labour policy on Brexit and its failure to tackle anti-Semitism among its membership. Nick Miller The Age The split was immediately compared to the ‘Gang of Four’ who left Labour in 1981 to form the Social Democratic Party, splitting the left vote and resulting in Margaret Thatcher winning crushing parliamentary majorities at the next two elections. ... Read More »

Why a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church matters today

A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine. Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and transferred its jurisdiction from the church of Moscow to the church of Constantinople, located in Istanbul. Victoria Smolkin The Conversation This competition between the churches of Constantinople and Moscow for dominance in the Orthodox Christian world is not new – it goes back more than ... Read More »

Even Conservatives Support Sweden’s Welfare State. Here’s Why.

It’s practical and efficient, allowing for a very competitive economy while ensuring a high standard of living. Barbara Koeppel The Nation While we’re waiting for Team Trump to make America great again, it’s useful to know what a not-great country such as Sweden offers its citizens. As Shakespeare observed, comparisons are odorous, but things smell good there. Not even the conservative Swedish parties and the far-right anti-immigrant party, which together won 205 seats in the September 2018 parliamentary elections (out ... Read More »

Mexico border wall: US states sue over emergency declaration

A coalition of 16 US states led by California is suing President Donald Trump’s administration over his decision to declare an emergency to raise funds for a Mexican border wall. BBC Mr Trump made the declaration on Friday to bypass Congress after it refused to approve $5.7bn (£4.4bn) for the wall. The states say they want to block Mr Trump’s “misuse of presidential power”. The Democrats oppose funding Mr Trump’s barrier, a key campaign pledge, and have vowed to contest ... Read More »

Aged care workforce will need to triple by 2050 to meet demand, inquiry hears

About 83,500 extra places will be needed over the next 10 years alone, but service providers say they are under significant cost pressures. AAP – SBS Demand for aged care places will explode over the next decade and require a tripling of the workforce by 2050, the aged care royal commission has been told. At the same time, funding uncertainty has caused some residential care providers to put development plans on hold. Recent data shows that 83,500 extra places will ... Read More »

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

A Lebanese perspective Energy ministers from Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority took an important step toward establishing an Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) on January 14, in Cairo. Mona Sukkarieh Executive According to the declaration that followed the meeting, the EMGF will, among other things, assist in the creation of a regional gas market, ensure the security of supply and demand, optimize resource development, facilitate the… The forum’s raison d’être is regional energy cooperation. Almost ... Read More »

Intel: How Trump’s choice as envoy to Turkey could complicate US Syria policy

The Donald Trump administration’s announcement that it plans to nominate veteran diplomat David Satterfield as ambassador to Turkey could shake up US policy in Syria. Al-Monitor The post has sat vacant for more than a year as relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated over the Pentagon’s backing of a Syrian Kurdish group in the fight against the Islamic State. Why it matters: Satterfield’s confirmation could pit two influential diplomats against each other as the Trump administration tries to hammer ... Read More »

The American Empire’s Long Reach

Since 2017, the US has conducted counterterror missions in 80 countries—over 40 percent of the nations in the world. Stephanie Savell The Nation In September 2001, the Bush administration launched the “Global War on Terror.” Though “global” has long since been dropped from the name, as it turns out, they weren’t kidding. When I first set out to map all the places in the world where the United States is still fighting terrorism so many years later, I didn’t think ... Read More »

Winning Back Trust in Nigeria’s Rescheduled Elections

Only hours before polls were to open, Nigeria’s electoral commission postponed elections scheduled for 16 February by one week. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Nigeria expert Nnamdi Obasi says the commission and other authorities must act now to win back trust and reduce risks of violence. What happened? Nigeria’s 84 million voters were set to vote in presidential and federal legislative elections on 16 February. But at 2.40 am that day, just over five hours before polling stations were to ... Read More »