Features

Knife and weapon offences reach highest level since 2009

In 2018 21,484 knife and offensive weapon offences were recorded in England and Wales Jamie Grierson The Guardian The criminal justice system dealt with the highest number of knife and offensive weapon offences in nearly a decade last year, official figures have shown. In 2018, 21,484 knife and offensive weapon offences were recorded, the highest number dealt with since 2009, when 25,103 offences were registered, according to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The figures come after the chancellor, Philip Hammond, ... Read More »

The mental health crisis among America’s youth is real – and staggering

The first signs of a problem started to emerge around 2014: More young people said they felt overwhelmed and depressed. College counseling centers reported sharp increases in the number of students seeking… Jean Twenge The Conversation Even as studies were showing increases in symptoms of depression and in suicide among adolescents since 2010, some researchers called the concerns overblown and claimed there simply isn’t enough good… The idea that there’s an epidemic in anxiety or depression among youth “is simply ... Read More »

Emma Haruka Iwao smashes pi world record with Google help

The value of the number pi has been calculated to a new world record length of 31 trillion digits, far past the previous record of 22 trillion. Zoe Kleinman BBC Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee from Japan, found the new digits with the help of the company’s cloud computing service. Pi is the number you get when you divide a circle’s circumference by its diameter. The first digits, 3.14, are well known but the number is infinitely long. Extending ... Read More »

Lowe tells banks slow payment rollout could limit competition

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe last year asked chief executives of the big four banks to confirm they were putting enough resources into rolling out a high-speed payment system, amid concerns the… Clancy Yeates WAtoday The central bank on Thursday published emails Dr Lowe sent in September to ANZ Bank chief executive Shayne Elliott, Commonwealth Bank chief Matt Comyn, Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer, and then… It declined to release the responses from each of the CEOs, saying these were exempt from FOI ... Read More »

Russia Claims Total Military Superiority in the Arctic

The steady and costly buildup of military might in the Arctic has apparently reached a level sufficient for Russia to claim sovereign rights over international waters along the entire length of the Northern Sea Route (known in Russian as Sevmorput), from the… By: Pavel Felgenhauer Eurasia Daily Monitor The Jamestown Foundation Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov told journalists, “This territory [the Arctic] is within the sphere of Russian interests. We will not give it away or let it slip away,” ... Read More »

Opinion: After Cardinal Pell verdict, Catholic Church must reform

Pope Francis once made George Pell one of the Vatican’s most powerful men. Now, the cardinal is headed to prison for sexual abuse. It is time for the Catholic Church to reform itself, says DW’s Christoph Strack. Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican’s third-highest ranking official who once served as the pope’s finance chief, was sentenced to six years behind bars on Wednesday for child sex abuse. The Australian is the most senior Catholic to ever be convicted of such crimes. Pell’s lawyers ... Read More »

Trump Knew Just What He Was Getting With Manafort: A Crook

Judge Ellis credited Manafort with an “otherwise blameless life.” That couldn’t be more wrong. Kenneth F. McCallion Daily Beast The 47-month sentence meted out to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort by Judge T.S. Ellis in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, last Thursday was little more than a slap on the wrist, considering the… Manafort was facing up to 25 years in prison for having carried out several complex banking fraud schemes that defrauded both banks and the U.S. government ... Read More »

In Manus, theatre delivers home truths that can’t be dodged

How to review a play whose relationship with matters of fact is so serious and politically culpable it overwhelms the critical distinctions that might normally be used to judge it? Julian Meyrick The Conversation Where is Stanislavski’s “magic if” (if I were a refugee locked up for six years by the Australian government …)? What are the “given circumstances” (near-drowning at sea, a sun-beaten island at the end of the earth)? Or the “inciting incident” (political oppression, military destruction, despair ... Read More »

String of British firms switch over to four-day working week

Exclusive: small companies tell the Guardian of the impact of ending ‘Friday fatigue’ Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent and Matthew Holmes The Guardian A string of small British firms have switched their workers over to a four-day week, the Guardian can reveal, amid mounting political interest in the idea that working less could deliver higher productivity and better balance between life and work. A lingerie manufacturer, a lighting design firm and a landscape architect are among a wave of employers experimenting with ... Read More »

Salvaging South Sudan’s Fragile Peace Deal

The truce in South Sudan is holding but could break down at any time. ICG To stave off renewed civil war, external actors should urge the belligerents to strike new bargains on security and internal boundaries – and accept a third-party protection force for the capital. What’s new? South Sudan’s new peace deal is nearing its first critical test: the formation of a unity government in May 2019. But steps toward key interim benchmarks – unifying a national army and ... Read More »

Silk Road opens a rift in Italy’s government

Washington and Brussels fear Rome is getting too close to China. Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico ROME — Italy’s government has split over whether to sign onto China’s landmark “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure program that runs across Asia to key European trade hubs. Some 13 EU countries have signed up to China’s new Silk Road plan, but Washington and Brussels are deeply concerned that the involvement of G7 heavyweight Rome could lend greater credibility to a project that they view as a… Prime ... Read More »

Hidden women of history: Australia’s first known female voter, the famous Mrs Fanny Finch

In this series, we look at under-acknowledged women through the ages. On 22 January 1856, an extraordinary event in Australia’s history occurred. Kacey Sinclair The Conversation It is not part of our collective national identity, nor has it been mythologised over the decades through song, dance, or poetry. It doesn’t even have a hashtag. But on this day in the thriving gold rush town of Castlemaine, two women took to the polls and cast their votes in a democratic election. ... Read More »

China’s growing Latin America ties also matter for Australia

When China’s increasing links to Latin America are discussed, Australia might not be the first country that comes to mind. Erin Watson-Lynn the interpreter Lowy Institute But for Australian policy makers, Beijing’s push into Latin America matters. Australia must do more itself to strengthen its otherwise nascent relationships with the region, especially as China works to fill the vacuum left by the United States’ absence in the region. Two important developments make this need clear. Rethinking Australia’s geographic proximity It ... Read More »

Pell verdict: Judge Kidd got it absolutely right with the sentence

After the deafening storm of publicity surrounding the conviction of Cardinal George Pell, finally there was silence. Duncan Fine The Age For one hour Chief Judge Peter Kidd delivered his sentencing and the reasons behind it. Courtroom 3.3 of the Victorian County Court went quiet. Pell stood calmly, with his arms behind his back. The sentence was six years with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. Immediately, the storm started up again. Some groups representing abuse survivors ... Read More »

Brazil: two ex-police officers arrested over murder of Marielle Franco

Franco, an outspoken critic of police violence against favela residents, was killed in 2018, prompting international outrage Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro The Guardian Two former police officers have been arrested over the murder of the Rio de Janeiro councillor Marielle Franco, two days before the first anniversary of her death, which prompted international outrage. Franco, a groundbreaking politician who was born in one of Rio’s largest favelas and became a voice for disadvantaged people in the city, was killed in ... Read More »

Venice is facing multiple tourism threats and many Venetians now want controls on visitors

They used to say “see Venice and die”. The impossible city-on-the-sea has long been a bucket list staple for travellers lured by its water and its stone. Foreign Correspondent – By Samantha Hawley and Bronwen Reed in Venice But now Venetians are questioning whether the city itself will survive long enough for coming generations to experience. Venice is facing multiple threats but, as Foreign Correspondent discovers, the sheer weight of visitors is the one that many locals find the most overwhelming. ... Read More »