Society

The case for adding more and more people to the Earth

If life is good, are we morally obligated to create more of it? Philosopher Torbjörn Tännsjö says yes. Dylan Matthews Vox How many people should there be? This is the core debate in a whole branch of philosophy known as population ethics. The debate has two polar extremes. One extreme, anti-natalism, argues that creating humans at all is… The other extreme is the view that creating humans is always a good thing — even if that results in a less ... 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 »

Jurors refuse to convict activist facing 20 years for helping migrants

Jury could not reach a verdict against Scott Daniel Warren who was arrested in 2018 for giving migrants water, food and lodging Associated Press The Guardian A US jury could not reach a verdict on Tuesday against a border activist who, defense attorneys say, was simply being kind by providing two migrants with water, food and lodging when he was arrested in early 2018. Scott Daniel Warren, a 36-year-old college geography instructor, was charged with conspiracy to transport and harbor ... Read More »

Twenty years on, Balkans still seek settlement

Twenty years ago today, NATO troops entered Kosovo and ended its war with Serbia, paving the way for Pristina to declare independence. Pristina / Ankara Hurriyet However, two decades later, the guns are still silent but mistrust runs deep between the neighbors, which have never totally normalized their ties. Former Yugoslavian province Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after its ethnic Albanian fighters battled Serb troops in a war that cost 13,000 lives. Turkey recognized Kosovo on 18 February 2008, the very first ... Read More »

Reversing Israel’s Deepening Annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem

Israel is pursuing new ways of cementing its grip on occupied East Jerusalem, further enmeshing the city’s Palestinians while maintaining a Jewish majority within the municipal boundaries. ICG These schemes could spark conflict. The new Israeli government elected in September should set them aside. What’s new? Israel is advancing new policies to entrench its de facto annexation of most of occupied East Jerusalem. Moreover, depending on what coalition government emerges from forthcoming parliamentary elections, it could shunt the… Reversing Israel’s ... Read More »

A growing source of Canadian asylum-seekers: US citizens whose parents were born elsewhere

Jokes about moving to Canada became common among progressives in the United States during Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Sean Rehaag The Conversation When he won, a spike in U.S. citizens seeking information about how to relocate crashed Canada’s immigration website. I’m a scholar of Canadian immigration law and will soon become the director of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University in Toronto. My friends and colleagues in the United States, who still make those jokes, are often surprised ... Read More »

Nearly a billion people facing high exposure to climate change effects, Global Peace Index finds

Nearly a billion people are facing climate change hazards globally, with the Asia-Pacific region housing twice as many people living in areas with high exposure than all other regions combined, a… The World By Tracey Shelton and Yvonne Yong ABC In the annual Global Peace Index released on Wednesday, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said an estimated 971 million people — including more than 2.4 million Australians — live in areas with high or… The top nine countries ... Read More »

Turkey’s prestigious Army Aviation School commander was tortured by police

The commander of Turkey’s prestigious Army Aviation School (Kara Havacılık Okulu) was subjected to torture in police custody, documents obtained by Nordic Monitor have revealed. Abdullah Bozkurt Nordic Monitor Brig. Gen. Ünsal Coşkun, head of the aviation school at Güvercinlik Army Air Base in the Turkish capital, was beaten by the police and deprived of food for two days, according to his own testimony on… He was detained and arrested on charges of involvement in a failed coup on July ... Read More »

At least 30 Venezuelan migrants missing after boat sinks: Lawmaker

Venezuelan migrants are missing after the speedboat they were traveling in sank on its way to Curacao, an opposition lawmaker said on June 11. CARACAS-Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The vessel left from a village in the northwest on June 7 with 30 to 35 people on board, deputy Luis Stefanelli told AFP, quoting family members. “No one has been in touch with their families, which makes us fear the worst,” said Stefanelli.    Authorities have not commented on the report. The body of a ... Read More »

Australia’s asylum seeker policy history: a story of blunders and shame

We know very little about the kind of government Scott Morrison runs. Carolyn Holbrook The Conversation After beating Peter Dutton and Julie Bishop to the prime ministership in August last year, most commentators assumed Morrison was keeping the chair warm until Labor’s Bill Shorten won the 2019 election. Following the Coalition’s unexpected victory, it’s time to ask more searching questions, not only about Scott Morrison’s political values and policy aspirations, but about his prime ministerial style. Recent history suggests processes ... Read More »

England’s history of defaulting on European lenders shows repercussions of not paying Brexit bill

Boris Johnson’s threat to withhold payment of the UK’s £39 billion Brexit divorce bill until the EU gives Britain better exit terms has been the source of much debate over whether or not it constitutes a… Authors: The Conversation Technically, the UK would argue that this is not a debt, as normally described when referring to sovereign defaults. Nevertheless, if the EU did consider it such a default, then the consequences would be very clear. They could include a hit ... Read More »

‘I really have thought this can’t go on’: loneliness looms for rising numbers of older private renters

Loneliness is increasingly recognised worldwide as a critical social issue and one of the major health hazards of our time. Authors: The Conversation Our research shows older private renters are at high risk of loneliness and anxiety. This is a growing concern as more Australians are renting housing later in life. By contrast, only a small proportion of the social housing tenants we interviewed said they were lonely. The links between housing arrangements and loneliness could have profound implications for ... Read More »