Society

IT contractors shown the door en masse at Home Affairs

Hundreds of IT contractors were shown the door at the Department of Home Affairs in Canberra this week due to budget pressures, with industry experts fearing a flood of workers will push down incomes across the sector. Sally Whyte The Canberra Times It’s understood that anywhere between 170 and 300 contractors, working on various information technology contracts across the department, were told this week that they were no longer required, with their work to be finishing up in the next ... Read More »

Refugees in Uganda: The value of a million human lives

Uganda is a front runner when it comes to forward-looking refugee policy. But financial aid from abroad only trickles in and the situation is worsening. Who should pay — Uganda or the international community? Silja Fröhlich DW In the first half of November, 1,750 new refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan entered Uganda. This brings the total from these two countries for this year to 100,000. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 1.4 million refugees live ... Read More »

France fuel protest: One dead in ‘yellow vest’ blockades

One protester has died and more than 200 were injured as more than a quarter of a million people took to the streets of France, angry at rising fuel prices. BBC The female protester who died was struck after a driver surrounded by demonstrators panicked and accelerated. The “yellow vests”, so-called after the high-visibility jackets they are required to carry in their cars, blocked motorways and roundabouts. They accuse President Emmanuel Macron of abandoning “the little people”. Mr Macron has ... Read More »

Xi warns of dangers of conflict while Pence lets fly

Beijing: Tensions between China and the United States were on full display at the APEC CEO summit in Port Moresby, with Chinese President Xi Jinping warning of the need to uphold the global institutions pivotal to peace shortly before US Vice-President Mike Pence launched a blistering attack on China to the same audience. Kirsty Needham Brisbane Times Warning of the painful lessons of World War II, Xi said: “History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a ... Read More »

‘A cancer on democracy’: the battle to end gerrymandering in America

New York: US politics in the age of Donald Trump may seem wild, but David Daley still remembers how feral and dysfunctional things were five years ago. Matthew Knott The Sydney Morning Herald Barack Obama was just beginning his second term as president and the anti-government fervour of the Tea Party was roiling the Republican Party. Among the 2013 lowlights: a two-week federal government shutdown because of Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act (better known as “Obamacare”). And Congress failed to pass gun ... Read More »

‘A disaster’: Forest deals reignite tension between loggers and conservationists

Dejan Stojanovic was aghast. The biologist had pulled to the side of a remote dirt road in southern Tasmania, expecting to find the stately blue gum forest he’d frequented for years. Nicole Hasham The Age He had come in search of the rare swift parrot, known to nest in the nooks of old local trees. But the bulldozers had got there first. Only disfigured brown earth remained. “I was enraged,” Stojanovic says, recalling the day in November last year. “This ... Read More »

White House Says Cutting Meals on Wheels Is ‘Compassionate’

President Trump’s new budget would increase defense spending by $54 billion — while slashing funding for medical research, climate science, public housing, education, aid to the indigent, infrastructure, and… Eric Levitz Intelligencer On Thursday morning, the White House’s budget director Mick Mulvaney explained that these changes were inspired by one, simple question: “Can we ask the taxpayer to pay for this?” Here’s what he said:.. “When you start looking at places that we reduce spending, one of the questions we asked ... Read More »

Wayne Johnston got lost in The Odyssey: 12-hour reading offers your chance

Actress Kate Kendall is among the high-profile Melburnians taking part in a 12-hour reading of Homer’s classic. John Bailey The Sydney Morning Herald Carlton football legend Wayne “The Dominator” Johnston would rather read the form guide than The Odyssey, but actor Kate Kendall noticed some similarities between her footy veteran husband and the leading man of Homer’s classic. Both are orphans. Both have lost a son. And while the footy field is far from the battleground, it left Johnston with enough ... Read More »

Why Norman Geras’s essay ‘Our Morals’ should be essential reading for politics students – not a subversive threat

Politics students at the University of Reading were reportedly told to “take care” when reading an essay by the late political theorist, Norman Geras. Stephen De Wijze The Conversation The Observer newspaper reported the students were warned about the essay – which was on their reading list – in order not to fall foul of Prevent, the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy. I worked closely with Geras, who was a professor at the University of Manchester for most of his career. The ... Read More »

Rebuilding the Gaza Ceasefire

A ceasefire agreement has brought Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas back from the cusp of yet another calamitous war. ICG However fragile, it offers a rare opportunity for all parties to finally break the cycle of recurring hostilities that has killed thousands since 2007. What’s new?  For the first time since the 2014 war, a plan for a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel started to take hold in early November, only to be disrupted by the… The ceasefire ... Read More »

Judge orders White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass

The White House has been ordered to return the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta with immediate effect. Jacob Jarvis Evening Standard A judge made the ruling on Friday afternoon that his credentials must be returned. US District Judge Timothy Kelly, who is hearing CNN’s lawsuit challenging the revocation, said there should be a due process in place for limiting a journalist’s access to the White House. The White House had set out reasons for the ban in a tweet from press secretary Sarah Sanders ... Read More »

Wesfarmers, Coles bosses throw support behind immigration

As the debate over the immigration rate rages, the managing directors of two of Australia’s biggest companies have voiced their support for migrants. Hamish Hastie WAtoday Speaking after the Wesfarmers AGM in Perth on Thursday, Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott and Coles managing director Steve Cain both said immigration played an important role in economic growth. In 2017-18 162,417 migrants were welcomed under the Australian immigration program, well below the government ceiling of 190,000 and more than 20,000 fewer than the 183,608 ... Read More »

Seafood industry calls for Senate inquiry into seismic testing

Members of the Australian seafood industry are persisting in their calls for an inquiry into seismic testing, despite the Senate having twice rejected the idea. ABC West Coast SA By Samantha Jonscher Seismic surveys, which are used to search for undersea oil and gas deposits, involve firing intense soundwaves into the ocean floor, which fishers worry could disrupt the behaviour of marine life. Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association President Brian Jeffriess said not enough is known about the impacts of ... Read More »

Bibliotherapy: how reading and writing have been healing trauma since World War I

Bibliotherapy – the idea that reading can have a beneficial effect on mental health – has undergone a resurgence. Authors: The Conversation There is mounting clinical evidence that reading can, for example, help people overcome loneliness and social exclusion. One scheme in Coventry allows health professionals to prescribe books to their patients from a list drawn up by mental health experts. Even as public library services across Britain are cut back, the healing potential of books is increasingly recognised. The ... Read More »

The Death of Democracy in Bangladesh

Democracy in Bangladesh hangs in the balance, and an upcoming election will mark a critical inflection point. Atif Ahmad, Michael Kugelman Image: Reuters The National Interest It’s not often that armed motorcyclists attack a U.S. ambassador, but that’s exactly what happened to Marcia Bernicat, Washington’s envoy in Bangladesh, one night this past summer. Bernicat was leaving a dinner party in Dhaka on August 4 when men on motorbikes chased her vehicle and threw bricks. No perpetrators were named in the ... Read More »

Why covering the environment is one of the most dangerous beats in journalism

From the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi by Saudi agents to President Trump’s clashes with the White House press corps, attacks on reporters are in the news. Eric Freedman The Conversation This problem extends far beyond the politics beat, and world leaders aren’t the only threats. At Michigan State University’s Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, we train students and professional journalists to report on what we view as the world’s most important beat. One hard fact is that those ... Read More »