Merkel suggests changes could be made to new online hate speech law

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BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel signalled on Saturday that she was prepared to consider changes to a widely criticised new law that aims to rid social media of hate speech. By REUTERS euronews The legislation, which came into force on Jan. 1, can impose fines of up to 50 million euros ($60.1 million) on sites that fail to remove hate speech promptly, sparking concerns that Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms could block more content than necessary. ... Read More »

Celebrated and beloved Age journalist Michael Gordon dies aged 62

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Michael Gordon, a giant of Australian journalism and one of The Age’smost loved, respected and lauded writers, has died at the age of 62. Debbie Cuthbertson The Sydney Morning Herald He is believed to have suffered a heart attack while taking part in an ocean swim at Cowes, on Phillip Island, on Saturday morning. He was pulled from the water and brought to shore shortly before 10.30am. Despite the best efforts of emergency services, who spent more than an hour trying ... Read More »

The truth about political donations: there is so much we don’t know

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The big story about the Australian Electoral Commission’s annual release of political donations disclosures is how little they really tell us Lindy Edwards The Conversation Over the last decade, the major parties have routinely only transparently disclosed 10-20% of their incomes as donations. There is another 20-35% of party incomes that falls into a grey area, where accounting enables them to conceal the source of the money. Then there is another 50-70% of party incomes the public knows absolutely nothing ... Read More »

Illustrating the Nauru files: ‘We have to fight with something’

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Artistic depictions of detention, based on Guardian Australia’s publication of leaked files, make you feel a deep kind of horrible about what happened on Nauru Naaman Zhou The Guardian The incident report that Melbourne artist Angela Brennan read had all the names redacted. It said that at 1.35pm one day on Nauru in March 2015 someone told a staff member two children had become upset in maths class. Another family had been medically evacuated to Australia and the children felt left behind. ... Read More »

The refugee crisis isn’t about refugees. It’s about us

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I was a child refugee, writes the Chinese artist and activist. I know how it feels to live in a camp, robbed of my humanity. Refugees must be seen to be an essential part of our shared humanity Ai Weiwei The Guardisn I was born in 1957, the same year China purged more than 300,000 intellectuals, including writers, teachers, journalists and whoever dared to criticise the newly established communist government. As part of a series of campaigns led by what ... Read More »

Sweden: Alexandra Pascalidou meets her neo-Nazi tormentor

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As a target of hate for Swedish neo-Nazis, Alexandra Pascalidou knows what it feels like to get death threats. She sat down with one of her former tormentors for a coffee and heard the other side. Here is her account. DW In November, Martin Karlsson sent an email to Swedish broadcaster and writer Alexandra Pascalidou. During his 13 years as a neo-Nazi in the Nordic Resistance Movement, he had hated her and threatened her. Now he wanted to tell her he ... Read More »

Peter Dutton criticised for ‘subjecting judges to quasi-election’

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Law Council says publicly releasing potential court appointees’ names is fraught with risk Paul Karp The Guardian The Law Council has denounced Peter Dutton’s suggestion of seeking public feedback before appointing judges as a “quasi-election” model that would politicise the judiciary. It is the second time the body has criticised the home affairs minister for undermining the independence of the judiciary after it rebuked him for claims that Victorians were “scared to go out to restaurants” due to street violence and that “civil libertarian” ... Read More »

Can your brain testify against you?

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Defined set of guidelines required for neuroscientific techniques to be used correctly and effectively in law EurekAlert! Neuroscientific techniques continue to advance, but their applications in law raise concerns of a threat to individual rights. Previous applications of neuroscientific evidence include using brain scans to detect deception in an individual, and neurological responses to determine whether someone has intimate knowledge of a crime. However, just because we can use this technology, does it mean we should? A review published in ... Read More »

The Economics Of Slavery: Spending Power Is Linked To People Power

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We might not be as free as we think we are, writes Matthew Clark. Edward Santow – Australia’s newest Human Rights Commissioner – has noted that more people live in slavery today than at any previous time in world history. Matthew C. Clarke New Matilda How is that possible? Some of the most detailed and credible estimates of how many slaves are in the world today come from Australian research by the Walk Free Foundation. After producing The Global Slavery ... Read More »

Lebanon blasts Israel over oil and gas exploration near border

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In December, the Lebanese Cabinet approved licenses for three international companies to carry out exploratory drilling off the Lebanese coast. ET EnergyWorld AP BEIRUT: Lebanon‘s energy minister vowed Thursday that Beirut will go ahead with oil and gas exploration near its maritime border with Israel, despite Israeli claims to the field that provoked wide condemnation in the tiny Arab country. Cesar Abi Khalil’s comments to The Associated Press came a day after Israel’s defense minister described as “very provocative” Lebanon’s ... Read More »

American Students Aren’t Learning The Full Truth About Slavery

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Students often get only a superficial view of the atrocity that built the country, a new study finds. By Rebecca Klein HuffPost American students are being taught an inadequate and often sanitized version of history when it comes to slavery, according to a new report. The report, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, looks at how slavery is  presented in K-12 classrooms and found that students are often taught a deeply incomplete version of events. Students learn inspirational stories ― about figures ... Read More »

Anti-Abortion Democrat Loses Key Support To Progressive Challenger

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Marie Newman, candidate for Congress in IL-03, speaks to reporters after receiving the endorsement of Reps. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marie Newman’s campaign against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) is getting a big boost from EMILY’s List By Daniel Marans HuffPost EMILY’s List, the fundraising group that backs pro-abortion rights Democratic women, on Friday endorsed Illinois progressive Marie Newman’s campaign against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), one of the last anti-abortion Democrats in Congress. Support from EMILY’s List, a fundraising powerhouse closely aligned with Democratic Party leadership, gives Newman a major boost in her effort to unseat Lipinski in the March 20 ... Read More »

Hong Kong ‘Umbrella Movement’ nominated for Nobel prize

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Three Hong Kong activists and the pro-democracy group behind the Umbrella Movement have been nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their role in pushing for reform in the Chinese territory. AlJazeera Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, as well as the “Umbrella Movement”, were nominated by a group of US Congress members for the prestigious prize, a move Beijing denounced on Friday as a form of “meddling” in its internal affairs. “This nomination could not be more timely as Hong Kong’s long-cherished ... Read More »

Images of mutilated female Kurdish fighter spark outrage

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A video captured in Syria shows the body of a female Kurdish fighter which has been mutilated by a group of Turkish-backed rebels, the British Daily Mail newspaper reports. Ahval The woman, identified by Kurdish officials as Barin Kobani, was reportedly a fighter from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a mainly-Kurdish fighting force that Turkey is fighting against in the northwest Syrian region of Afrin. The video shows a dozen men around her mutilated body, which has been partially stripped ... Read More »

Fixing pain management could help us solve the opioid crisis

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Australia is facing a critical public health issue of poorly managed pain The combination of poor health outcomes, inappropriate prescribing for pain and non-prescription use of opioids has resulted in opioid-related deaths surpassing the national annual road toll. Meredith Craigie The Conversation And prescription opioids were involved in more than 70% of drug-related deaths in Australia in 2017. What should opioids be used for? Opiods began being commonly prescribed in the 90s, despite limited research supporting their effectiveness for chronic pain that wasn’t ... Read More »

Japan’s New National Security Economy

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Japan’s long-awaited resurgence depends first and foremost on getting its economic house in order—and that includes developing a geoeconomic strategy. Toshifumi Kokubun Brad Glosserman The National Interest Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s quest to raise Japan’s security profile has had remarkable success. His administration has halted the decline in defense spending, restructured the national-security bureaucracy and engineered considerable changes in national-security policy and doctrine. For all that progress, however, there are critical gaps in Japanese efforts. The most glaring omission is ... Read More »