Society

Leading academics slam UWA student guild for putting ‘cultural sensitivities’ above free speech

A move by the University of WA student guild to acknowledge a visit from the Dalai Lama could offend some students has been criticised by leading academics, who see it as an attempt to put cultural sensitivities ahead of free… Bethany Hiatt | The West Australian Three years after it hosted the Tibetan spiritual leader on campus, the guild last week backed a motion recognising the “negative impact” his presence could have on Chinese… UWA’s Pelican magazine reported the motion ... Read More »

Crucial Ingredient of Life Might Not Exist Across Universe, Scientists Discover

If you were going grocery shopping with plans to whip up life, you’d know to stock up on the equivalent of a chocolate chip cookie recipe’s eggs and chocolate chips: It’s easy to remember you need water and carbon. Meghan Bartels Newsweek But just as you may forget to check your supply of baking soda, the less obvious ingredients of life—like phosphorus—may slip your mind. Phosphorus is a crucial piece of DNA and the compounds that store energy. A cookie without baking soda doesn’t ... Read More »

Do we need human rights law?

In a world of unprecedented refugee flows, seemingly endless wars and rising levels of xenophobia and inequality, many have been questioning the point of human rights. Kiran Grewal The Conversation What do they mean to the huge numbers of asylum seekers detained across the globe? To the Rohinyga, fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar? To the children dying in bombings across Syria and Yemen? For many the optimism of the post-WWII era when the international human rights system was set up ... Read More »

What King, Kennedy, Obama’s great speeches have in common

Two of history’s great rhetoricians – Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert F Kennedy – were assassinated 50 years ago. Their words have resonance today, writes Benjamin Ramm. Benjamin Ramm BBC Popular volumes of great speeches celebrate the mastery of the art of persuasion. These tomes are full of rhetorical flourishes, of stirring appeals to universal ideals, with elevated cadences and effortless assurances. But two of the most significant rhetoricians of the 20th Century, both of whom were assassinated 50 ... Read More »

Europe struggles to face down Big Pharma

Knocking down drug prices requires more than bargaining as a group. Belgium and the Netherlands teamed up three years ago to negotiate cheaper drugs in the hopes of forming a new front against Big Pharma’s high prices. Carmen Paun Politico It was an attractive idea: Banding together, EU health ministries would wield bargaining power against pharma companies based on their bigger patient pool. Luxembourg, Austria and Ireland agreed with the logic and signed on, stung into action as drug prices reached eye-popping highs. Hepatitis ... Read More »

Cryptocurrencies have become terrorist tool, says Russian security chief

International terrorist groups are skilled at using modern technology, recruit hackers into their ranks and actively finance their activities with cryptocurrencies, the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has… RT “We are not talking only about aggressive propaganda and recruitment on the internet, which currently has over 10,000 [terrorist-related] websites and hundreds of thousands of their accounts on social… I am talking about large-scale use of various means of encrypted communication, electronic banking and cryptocurrencies, schemes of remote management ... Read More »

Bring back the sensible centre

It will not surprise many that a new study of attitudes shows Australian voters are deserting the centre ground and moving to the fringes and extremes. Editorial The Sydney Morning Herald As we have reported, an analysis of time-series data collected in the Australian Election Study after every federal poll since 1987 shows more voters are thinking of themselves as either “left” or “right” in political terms. Where in 1996 54 per cent of voters described themselves as in the ... Read More »

How do you make poverty sound better? Rebrand it!

Having to take several jobs and sending kids to work used to be a sign of living precariously – now it’s just a question of what your ‘side hustle’ is Arwa Mahdawi The Guardian Listen carefully. I am about to divulge the secret of financial success. I have deduced a failsafe way to amass a lot of money, even if you earn very little. It doesn’t involve cutting down on avocado toast, crocheting your own clothes or working eight jobs; it’s ... Read More »

Electoral Poker in DR Congo

Elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been postponed since December 2016, but now seem to be slated for the end of the year. ICG All parties should work to ensure credible polls, the best hope for a peaceful transfer of power. What’s new? After repeated delays, President Joseph Kabila’s government in the Democratic Republic of Congo has made progress over the past few months toward organising elections for 23 December 2018. But there are still important concerns ... Read More »

South Africa hails ‘retraction’ of Australian minister’s offer to white farmers

However, Australian home affairs minister denies that offer of humanitarian visas has been withdrawn Paul Karp The Guardian The Australian home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, has denied that the Australian government retracted his offer for white South African farmers to come to Australia on humanitarian visas. A spokesperson for Dutton reportedly issued the denial after the South African government claimed Australia had gone back on plans to offer fast-track humanitarian visas to “persecuted” white farmers. The difference of opinion suggests Australia ... Read More »

Saudi prince says Israel has ‘right’ to its land

The crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia said Israel has a “right” to a homeland, a notable shift in the kingdom’s position published on April 2. Washington / Riyadh Hurriyet But the king reassured Palestine over Saudi Arabia’s stance on the issue on April 3. Saudi Arabia and Israel still have no formal diplomatic relations, but behind the scenes, improvements in their ties have accelerated in recent years. Both countries see Iran as their biggest outside threat ... Read More »

White House criticises China for $3bn tariffs on US imports

The White House has criticised China after it imposed retaliatory tariffs against the US on a range of goods including pork and wine. BBC Beijing has introduced duties of up to 25% on 128 American imports following President Donald Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminium. China said the move was intended to safeguard its interests and balance losses caused by the new tariffs. US stocks plunged and Asian shares opened lower as trade war fears mount. On Wall ... Read More »

Israel cancels UN deal to resettle African migrants

Embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu caves to pressure from right wing parties over UN offer to rehome 16,000 Africans in Western countries and allow 16,000 to remain in Israel Bethan McKernan Independent Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is cancelling yesterday’s agreement with the UN to relocate thousands of African asylum seekers to Western countries. “I have listened carefully to the many comments on the agreement. As a result, and after I again weighed the advantages and disadvantages, I decided to cancel ... Read More »

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela

A life in pictures Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist and former wife of Nelson Mandela, has died. The Guardian During her husband’s incarceration, she campaigned tirelessly for his release and the rights of black South Africans. She later became a controversial figure in South African politics due to allegations of corruption and involvement in acts of brutality. Matt Fidler Read More »

Beaten, abused, humiliated and filmed by Victoria Police

John’s psychologist was worried about his mental health. She asked the police to check on him. CCTV footage shows they did much more. Nick McKenzie The Age John’s fleshy torso tumbles earthwards as police swarm around him. There are six officers in all, two on his back like wolves on injured prey. The disability pensioner is pinned down. He is in his own front yard and he is helpless. Minutes earlier, the police have arrived at John’s home in Preston ... Read More »

Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham.

“IF THE CONCEPT of intervention is driven by universal human rights, why is it — from the people who identify themselves as liberal interventionists — why do we never hear a peep, a word, about intervening to protect the Palestinians?” Mehdi Hasan The Intercept That was the question I put to the French philosopher, author, and champion of liberal (or humanitarian) interventionism, Bernard-Henri Lévy, on my Al Jazeera English interview show “Head to Head” in 2013. The usually silver-tongued Levy struggled to answer the ... Read More »