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Brian Wilson: Leipzig shows how history’s giants bring people together

In Leipzig, Brian Wilson finds evidence of the greatness of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who took an extraordinary decision that helped make the reunification of Germany a success. Brian Wilson The Scotsman It is surely a paradox of history that so much time now has to be spent resisting efforts to create new borders when most of the past couple of centuries’ heroes are those who brought people together. This week, I was in two German cities – Berlin for ... Read More »

Diarmaid Ferriter: Nuns’ side of story needs to be heard

Silence and selective recounting of history reinforces caricature of ‘bad nuns’ Diarmaid Ferriter The Irish Times Just what is the nuns’ story? That is a question I’ve often pondered when absorbing the revelations of recent years about Ireland’s reliance on institutions, the things that went on within them and the social, economic and cultural currents that… There has been much testimony from survivors of abuse and numerous declarations of sorrow from politicians reacting to the publication of the reports of ... Read More »

Your DNA Is Out There. Do You Want Law Enforcement Using It?

A genealogist and a data science company are solving cold cases and finding the unfindable On the afternoon of Nov. 18, 1987, Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg left Saanich, B.C., their hometown, to pick up some furnace equipment in Seattle for Cook’s father. By Drake Bennett and Kristen V Brown Bloomberg Saanich and Seattle are a little more than 100 miles apart, but the trip takes almost five hours: a ferry into the U.S. across the Strait of Juan ... Read More »

Millions of women to share pensions windfall

MILLIONS of women are in line for a pension boost following a landmark multi-billion pound High Court ruling. Lloyds Bank was told yesterday it had to equalise pensions benefits for men and women, in… By SARAH O’GRADY Express The ruling by Mr Justice Morgan could cost Lloyds £150million and the pension industry collectively around £20billion. Employees Angela Sharp, Judith Cain and Susan Dixon by their trade union BTU, claimed they faced sex discrimination because their guaranteed minimum pension increased at a ... Read More »

Migrant caravan: Mexico offers temporary work permits

Mexico has offered temporary work permits to migrants who register for asylum, as a big caravan of Central American migrants makes its way through the country toward the US. BBC The plan also envisages temporary ID cards, medical care and schooling. But to qualify, migrants must remain in Mexico’s southern Chiapas and Oaxaca states. The US has warned that about 800 troops may be sent to the US-Mexico border to stop the migrant caravan. “I am bringing out the military for ... Read More »

Bahrain says ‘Arab NATO’ to be formed by next year

The alliance aims to include six Gulf countries and Egypt, though Saudi-led blockade on Qatar remains an obstacle. Al Jazeera Bahrain‘s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa has said a planned Gulf security alliance, expected to include Egypt, will be formed by next year. At a security summit in capital Manama on Saturday, Khalifa said the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), an initiative pushed by US President Donald Trump to confront Iran, will help the Gulf remain “a… “It (MESA) is an alliance ... Read More »

Assyrian Journalist Betrayed By the Indifference of the West Over Syria

Hasakah, Syria — Souleman Yusph, a Christian journalist and researcher specialising in minority issues, hails from Qamishli, a town in the Kurdish-controlled north-eastern region of Syria. AINA He spoke to AsiaNews about his disappointment vis-à-vis the indifference of the West, especially the United States, who could exert pressure to defend Christians in Syria but instead shows that it does not care about them and their future. He also expressed fear of ending up again in the crosshairs of Kurdish authorities ... Read More »

Puerto Rico Is Fighting Zika With Cloud Technology

Distant servers help researchers count mosquito eggs and locate potential breeding grounds. There are more than 30 species of mosquitoes in Puerto Rico. Most are considered nuisances, not health threats. Nick Leiber Bloomberg But one, the Aedes aegypti, spreads chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and other viral diseases. Zika, after having been first reported in Puerto Rico in 2015, infected more than 35,000 people across the island the following year. When Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, scientists worried the A. ... Read More »

Why a species of fish became less aggressive after coral bleaching

Why a species of fish became less aggressive after coral bleaching CBC Radio Lancaster University marine biologist Sally Keith and her colleagues were looking into how the behaviour of butterflyfish might vary geographically — but then a mass coral bleaching event hit, and the… She says she noticed a decrease in the amount of aggressive behaviour displayed by butterflyfish after the coral bleaching. Her colleague Nathan Sanders has called the butterflyfish the “canaries of the reef,” and they say the results of this study — published this week ... Read More »

Lack of trust between EU and Britain emerging as issue in backstop talks

London Letter: Fears Britain could seek to use Border issue for trade deal leverage Denis Staunton The Irish Times This was supposed to be “hell week” for Theresa May after mutinous Brexiteers foretold her political assassination in grisly metaphors in last Sunday’s papers. But after surviving a Brexit statement in the House of Commons on Monday, a fiery cabinet meeting on Tuesday and an appearance before the 1922 Committee on Wednesday, the prime minister ends the week in a… But May still ... Read More »

Thousands of rapists are allowed on day release from jail

THE number of rapists being let out of prison on day release has soared by 60 per cent in three years. By AMY-CLARE MARTIN AND MATTHEW DAVIS Express Ministry of Justice figures show convicted rapists were freed to walk the streets 5,356 times in 2017, up from just 3,337 in 2015. The news comes as statistics show a 54 per cent rise in prisoners breaking their day release terms by committing crime, failing to return, coming back late or other breaches. ... Read More »

Why believing in ghosts can make you a better person

Halloween is a time when ghosts and spooky decorations are on public display, reminding us of the realm of the dead. Tok Thompson The Conversation But could they also be instructing us in important lessons on how to lead moral lives? Roots of Halloween The origins of modern-day Halloween go back to “samhain,” a Celtic celebration for the beginning of the dark half of the year when, it was widely believed, the realm between the living and the dead overlapped and ghosts ... Read More »

UN names Human Rights Prize winners for 2018

Asma Jahangir, Rebeca Gyumi, Joenia Wapichana and Front Line Defenders honoured by the UN for promoting human rights. Al Jazeera The United Nations has hailed the “inspiring” work of four individuals and organisations as it announced the winners of its Human Rights Prize for 2018. The honour was given on Friday to Asma Jahangir, the late Pakistani lawyer and leading human rights defender, along with Tanzanian activist Rebeca Gyumi, Brazil’s first indigenous lawyer Joenia Wapichana and Irish human rights groups Front… UN names Human… Read More »

Whatever you think of Packer, he was brave to talk about depression

The photograph was so disturbing, the first time I viewed it, I had to look away, as I felt as though I was intruding on someone’s deepest personal pain. Wendy Squires Brisbane Times The picture showed James Packer at the Crown Resorts Annual General Meeting in Melbourne in 2016, looking bloated and overweight, his eyes red and watery and seeming to scream “help!”. His pallor was an angry red; his gait that of a whipped dog temporarily let off its ... Read More »