Society

Must the president be a moral leader?

The best presidents – including figures such as Abraham Lincoln and George Washington – are celebrated not only as good leaders, but as good men. They embody not simply political skill, but… Michael Blake The Conversation Why, though, should anyone expect a president to demonstrate that sort of virtue? If someone is good at the difficult job of political leadership, must they demonstrate exceptional moral character as well? Character and democracy Voters disagree about the extent to which the president ... Read More »

Call to ban killer robots in wars

A group of scientists has called for a ban on the development of weapons controlled by artificial intelligence (AI). Pallab Ghosh BBC It says that autonomous weapons may malfunction in unpredictable ways and kill innocent people. Ethics experts also argue that it is a moral step too far for AI systems to kill without any human intervention. The comments were made at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Washington DC. Human Rights Watch (HRW) is one of the ... Read More »

Is Nancy Pelosi a Climate Skeptic?

It’s time to reckon with the internal contradictions of climate policy. Bret Stephens The New York Times Is Nancy Pelosi a climate skeptic? Of course not — and I would know. But you might be excused for thinking so, given the curt wave-off the House speaker delivered to the liberally ballyhooed, legislatively stillborn Green New Deal. “The green dream, or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it, right?” That was Pelosi talking about the deal as ... Read More »

Armed conflict killed 870,000 young children over five years, report

At least 100,000 babies die every year because of factors including hunger, damaged hospitals and lack of aid, says Save the Children. SBS About 870,000 children under five may have died within five years as a result of armed conflict in the worst-affected countries, a new report finds. According to the ‘Stop War on Children’ report from Save the Children, the number is five times more than the 174,703 fighters estimated to have been killed in the same period between 2013 ... Read More »

Fierce litigator worked pro-bono to champion human rights

At Steven Glass’s funeral, his closest friends and loved ones were discovering things about him they didn’t know and connecting with people that they had never met before. By Asia Lenard, George Newhouse, Ju Lin O’Connor and Eva Orner The Age It’s not that Steven was secretive, he was simply a man who got things done, quietly, without fanfare, and with no expectation of recognition. Steven was born in Melbourne in 1960 to John and Ellen Glass. His mother’s family escaped ... Read More »

‘Amazon isn’t bigger than New York’: meet the man who killed the deal

Michael Gianaris turned his outrage into leverage when he was appointed to an obscure state board – and soon after, the company called the project off Erin Durkin The Guardian Αmazon made plenty of enemies with its plans for a new headquarters in New York, but one of those foes played an outsized role in sending the tech giant packing. The man who stared down Amazon is state senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat who represents Long Island City, the Queens neighborhood where the company ... Read More »

White-collar crooks face up to 15 years in jail under new penalties

Banking executives face up to 15 years in jail under tough new laws to stamp out white-collar crime as the corporate regulator prepares to crack down on misconduct in the sector. Sarah Danckert The Sydney Morning Herald On Friday, the Senate passed a long-awaited bill that drastically increases the penalties for white-collar crime. Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s deputy chairman, enforcement, Daniel Crennan, QC, welcomed the passing of the bill on Friday. “Now ASIC will be in a position to ... Read More »

Four lessons from 11 years of Closing the Gap reports

Scott Morrison today became the fifth prime minister to deliver a Closing the Gap report to parliament – the 11th since the strategy began in 2008. Nicholas Biddle The Conversation Closing the Gap has aimed to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with particular respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes. Almost every time a prime minister delivers the report, he or she states the need to move ... Read More »

Former far-right Dutch MP van Klaveren tells of reactions to his conversion to Islam

Joram van Klaveren spent several years serving far-right and anti-Islam politics in the Netherlands. But van Klaveren, once a right-hand man to Dutch anti-Islam politician GeertWilders, took the world by surprise when he announced his conversion to… Nalan Koçak – ISTANBUL Hurriyet “You are like a vegetarian working in a slaughterhouse,” Wilders told van Klaveren upon his shift to his newfound faith, the former MP recalled in an interview with Hürriyet Daily News on Feb. 12. Van Klaveren was a lawmaker for the Party of Freedom (PVV), led by the Dutch populist Wilders, from 2010 to ... Read More »

Winners and losers of Europe’s copyright reform

Not all rights holders are necessarily better off, and Google might not be as impacted as it looks. Laura Kayali Politico STRASBOURG — The European Commission, Parliament and EU countries agreed Wednesday on the controversial copyright reform, after two and a half years of painful negotiations and unprecedented lobbying campaigns from all sides of the… The reform was initially presented by the Commission in September 2016. The most contentious aspects of the text were mainly targeting Google, which rights holders have accused of ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #4

Below is the fourth weekly update as part of Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. ICG This week we look at fighting near the Saudi-Yemeni border and strains on the ceasefire around Hodeida, as well as international developments. Trendline: The Overlooked Battle for Yemen’s Northern Border Though the battle for the Red Sea port and city of Hodeida is paused until the UN-brokered deal to demilitarise the area succeeds or collapses, fighting on other fronts has intensified, particularly along the Saudi-Yemeni border. ... Read More »

Egypt says “NO” to East Med

An unequivocal “no” from Egypt received the East Med gas pipeline. Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, said he was opposed to the transportation of gas from East Mediterranean to Europe via the East Med pipeline. Nefeli Tzanetakou ibna He even justified his position by saying that the feasibility study for this project would last up to two years, which in itself is a luxury the region of ... Read More »

Politics with Michelle Grattan: Kerryn Phelps on medical transfer numbers

Independent MP Kerryn Phelps, who set the ball rolling for the medical transfers legislation, says its passage is “a remarkable exercise in cooperation”. Michelle Grattan The Conversation Phelps says that of the about 1000 people on Manus and Nauru “around 70 people require urgent medical evacuation” and “another couple of hundred will require transfer but not as urgently”. She describes Scott Morrison’s proposal to reopen the Christmas Island detention facility as a “political statement”. “What we need to do is ... Read More »

Having a sense of meaning in life is good for you – so how do you get one?

The pursuit of happiness and health is a popular endeavour, as the preponderance of self-help books would attest. Lisa A Williams The Conversation Yet it is also fraught. Despite ample advice from experts, individuals regularly engage in activities that may only have short-term benefit for well-being, or even backfire. The search for the heart of well-being – that is, a nucleus from which other aspects of well-being and health might flow – has been the focus of decades of research. ... Read More »

‘How to Hide an Empire’ Shines Light on America’s Expansionist Sidε

The word “empire” has a distinct place in the American lexicon: readily applicable to other countries but rarely, if ever, to the United States itself. Jennifer Szalai The New York Times Even in the spring of 2003, when American forces were occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and government officials were writing torture memos, the defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld seemed almost offended when a reporter asked whether the United States was engaged in anything like “empire-building.” “We’re not imperialistic,” Rumsfeld insisted. “We ... Read More »