Analysis

No more ‘leaning in’ – the neoliberal myth of the superhero businesswoman holds us all back

We’ve read the stories and seen the figures. We know that women are still underrepresented at the decision making table. Melissa Yoong The Conversation We know women across professional fields get paid less than their male peers for doing the same job. We know about the #MeToo movement. Yet, those who call for structural reforms are still often dismissed as whiners or unreasonably demanding. This could be partly due to the pervasiveness of neoliberalism and post-feminism. Traditionally understood as the ... Read More »

UN report documents genocide against Rohingya: What now?

The United Nations has released a searing report that details Myanmar’s state violence against an ethnic and religious minority in that country known as the Rohingya. The Conversation The report demands that top leadership in Myanmar’s powerful military be held accountable for genocide and other international crimes. As co-directors of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at Binghamton University, we see this recognition of genocide in Myanmar as an opportunity to help mobilize the international community to take ... Read More »

Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East

Much of north-eastern Syria has been safe during the civil war. ICG But in the event of U.S. military withdrawal, a mad scramble for control could be unleashed. Washington and Moscow should help their respective allies in Syria reach a decentralisation deal for the area. What’s new?  In March 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. forces from north-eastern Syria and suspended stabilisation funding for the area. His senior foreign policy advisers provided somewhat discordant views. These ... Read More »

Lesson from Brazil: Museums are not forever

We now know what history going up in flames looks like. On Sept. 2, the National Museum of Brazil lit up Rio de Janeiro’s night sky. Chip Colwell The Conversation Perhaps started by an errant paper hot air balloon landing on the roof or a short circuit in a laboratory, the fire gutted the historic 200-year-old building. Likely gone are a collection of resplendent indigenous ceremonial robes, the first dinosaur found in South America, Portuguese royal furniture, ancient Egyptian mummies, ... Read More »

How will Indigenous people be compensated for lost native title rights? The High Court will soon decide

Today, the High Court of Australia will begin hearing the most significant case concerning Indigenous land rights since the Mabo and Wik native title cases in the 1990s. Authors: The Conversation For the first time, the High Court will consider how to approach the question of compensation for the loss of traditional land rights. The decision will have huge implications for Indigenous peoples who have lost their land rights and for the state and territory governments responsible for that loss. ... Read More »

How solar kits and battery lamps are replacing kerosene across Africa

For decades, people in rural Africa have been using sooty kerosene lamps to dimly light their homes. Jörg Peters The Conversation But in recent years households, even in poor areas, have started to replace their kerosene lamps with non-rechargeable dry-cell battery driven lamps and solar kits. This is happening largely without any governmental or donor involvement. These devices are equipped with light-emitting diodes (LED) that have become significantly cheaper over the years. This has, in turn, made them a highly ... Read More »

What’s wrong with Australia’s democracy?

Kevin Bain reviews three publications offering diverse perspectives of what is ailing Australia and what should be done. Kevin Bain IA THESE THREE BOOKS give a platform for a diverse bunch of Australian commentators, activists, politicians, system operatives and academics. Some drill down on functional aspects, others reflect on populism, fear of what might be coming, visions of something better and change strategies. Naturally, diagnosis and remedy go together but the… Hopefully, readers will look at these books and find a… What’s ... Read More »

Happiness at work trumps money for most Australians

What is more important to you at work: happiness or money? If you’re like me, you’ll be wondering why you need to choose. And yes, I’m the first to argue that “both” is a reasonable answer in the real world. But let’s say… Caitlin Fitzsimmons Brisbane Times If you’re like most Australians, you’ll plump for happiness. Nearly two out of three Australians value happiness over work, according to a survey commissioned by workplace meaning and happiness consultancy Rise. The poll, ... Read More »

Lies, ‘fake news’ and cover-ups: how has it come to this in Western democracies?

The Liberal leadership spill and Malcolm Turnbull’s downfall is but the latest instalment in a game of musical chairs that has dominated Australian politics for the best part of a decade. Joseph Camilleri The Conversation For many, it has been enough to portray Tony Abbott as the villain of the story. Others have pointed to Peter Dutton and his allies as willing, though not-so-clever, accomplices. There’s also been a highlighting of the herd instinct: once self-serving mutiny gathers steam, others ... Read More »

German far right fuels Muslim ‘takeover’ fears

A series of violent crimes committed by refugees is unsettling the nation. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Can Germany survive Islam? That question is once again at the center of the country’s public discourse amid the violent protests that followed last week’s brutal killing of a German man, allegedly at the hands of two Muslim refugees, and the publication of a new book titled “Hostile Takeover, how Islam halts progress and… On Saturday, about 11,000 people (8,000 right-wing and far-right protesters ... Read More »

Turkey Needs the EU—The Question Is How Much Its Relationship Will Cost

European governments are currently witnessing a seemingly positive move by Turkey’s leadership toward the EU. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe On the surface, this makes sense: Turkey’s economy is in very dire straits (and still depends on European markets and financial flows); the Lira is plummeting; hurtful sanctions have recently been imposed by the United States (and more may be coming); and Russia is having it its way in Syria (which… As a result, the Turkish foreign ministry is issuing statements. ... Read More »

Saving Idlib from Destruction

Numerous signs point to an imminent Syrian regime offensive to recapture Idlib, the largest remaining rebel-held area. ICG To ward off another humanitarian calamity, Russia, Iran and Turkey should immediately convene talks to extend the truce and seek other ways of removing Idlib’s jihadist hard core. What’s new?  The Syrian regime and its allies look on the verge of attacking the country’s north-western governorate of Idlib, the last remaining stronghold of the armed rebellion, saying they must root out the ... Read More »

The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages

What can hyperpolyglots teach the rest of us? Judith Thurman The New Yorker One researcher of language acquisition describes her basic question as “How do I get a thought from my mind into yours?” Last May, Luis Miguel Rojas-Berscia, a doctoral candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, flew to Malta for a week to learn Maltese. He had a hefty grammar book in his backpack, but he didn’t plan to open it ... Read More »

How we showed Homer’s Odyssey is not pure fiction, with a little help from Facebook

When you look at networks of people, whether it’s architects or table tennis players or a regular bunch of Facebook friends, they will have certain similarities. Authors: The Conversation They tend to confirm the “six degrees of separation” idea that most people are connected in a few very short steps. Each person tends to have large numbers of connections and to associate with people who are similar to them. The networks are also usually organised into hierarchies. In fiction – ... Read More »

Demonetisation in India: A Democracy Deficit

Demonetisation On November 8, 2016, when the United States of America was busy electing a populist president in Donald Trump, India’s own populist prime minister, Narendra Modi came up with a unique economic decision. Shubbam Ghosh EurasiaFuture In one stroke, he invalidated two high denomination currency notes the nation had been using –  Indian National Rupee notes (INR) valued at INR 1,000 and INR 500. According to Modi and his supporters, the move was a… On August 29, 2018, almost ... Read More »

What would happen if we banned emails at the weekends

Maybe we all need ‘the right to disconnect’ Chris Stokel-Walker BBC For the average working person, there’s no greater feeling than powering down your computer and kissing goodbye to your avalanche of work emails for the day. If we’re lucky enough to disconnect from the job on evenings and weekends, we’re overjoyed to leave work email and the stress that comes with it in the office. But experts say we’re increasingly failing to do so, instead bringing the burden home ... Read More »