Humanity

How a small American Indian tribe came to give an incredible gift to Irish famine sufferers

In the winter of 1847, the people of Ireland were suffering from a devastating famine. Padraig Kirwan The Conversation Meanwhile, members of the Choctaw Nation of American Indians, one of the five great southern tribes of the United States, met in a small town in Indian Territory called Skullyville. There, members of the tribe discussed the experiences of the Irish poor. It was proposed that they would gather what monies they could spare. This wasn’t going to be much in ... Read More »

Former President Jimmy Carter lives in a $167,000 house and shops at the Dollar General

Former President Jimmy Carter might have once called the white mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue his home, but now, he lives in a much, much more modest abode. Sarah Berger CNBC Carter, the nation’s 39th president, lives a fairly normal — and frugal — life, according to The Washington Post. In fact, Carter, 93, still lives in the ranch house he built himself in 1961. The home, in rural Plains, Georgia (about a 2½-hour drive south of Atlanta) is a two-bedroom ... Read More »

Germany ‘unlikely to prosecute’ Nazi guard deported from US

Nazi hunter Jens Rommel says 95-year-old Jakiw Palij will probably never face trial for alleged war crimes Kate Connolly The Guardian German authorities are unlikely to ever bring to trial a 95-year-old former second world war concentration camp guard who was deported from the US earlier this week, the country’s leading Nazi hunter has said. Jens Rommel, who heads the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg, said there was not enough evidence to prosecute Jakiw Palij, ... Read More »

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker review – a feminist Iliad

This brilliant retelling of Homer’s epic poem focuses on the cost of war to women through the story of Briseis, Achilles’ concubine Emily Wilson The Guardian In The Iliad, a poem about the terrible destruction caused by male aggression, the bodies and pretty faces of women are the objects through which men struggle with each other for status. The women are not entirely silent, and goddesses always have plenty to say, but mortal women speak primarily to lament. They grieve ... Read More »

Explainer: what is resignation syndrome and why is it affecting refugee children?

Reports from Nauru are raising concerns about an outbreak of a severe trauma-related mental disorder known as traumatic withdrawal syndrome, or resignation syndrome. Louise Newman The Conversation Recent legal action resulted in urgent medical evacuation of a child in an unconscious state following a progressive social withdrawal and failure to speak, eat or drink. The child was unresponsive, dehydrated and at risk of death from the physical complications of this extreme state. Medical experts noted there are no adequate medical ... Read More »

Is China worsening the developing world’s environmental crisis?

The developing world is in the midst of an environmental crisis. Simply breathing the air is a leading cause of death. Jonas Gamso The Conversation One recent study found that pollution is to blame for a fifth of sub-Saharan Africa’s infant deaths. Another showed that exposure to toxins or other dangerous substances in the air killed over 9 million people in 2015 alone, with 92 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries – this is more people than were ... Read More »

Rising seas will displace millions of people – and Australia must be ready

Sea-level rise is already threatening some communities around the world, particularly small island states, as it exacerbates disasters resulting from storm surges and flooding. Authors: The Conversation If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, by 2100 the world could see sea-level rise of a metre – or even more if there is a larger contribution from the Antarctic ice sheet, as some recent findings suggest. Even without a larger Antarctic response, the rate of rise at the end of the 21st ... Read More »

Ban ‘killer robots’ to protect fundamental moral and legal principles

When drafting a treaty on the laws of war at the end of the 19th century, diplomats could not foresee the future of weapons development. Bonnie Docherty The Conversation But they did adopt a legal and moral standard for judging new technology not covered by existing treaty language. This standard, known as the Martens Clause, has survived generations of international humanitarian law and gained renewed relevance in a world where autonomous weapons are on the brink of making their own ... Read More »

Robin DiAngelo on why it’s so hard for white people to talk about racism

Robin DiAngelo riles up a lot of white people. The American anti-racism educator teaches about an insidious and damaging form of racism that lurks in progressive people like herself: white privilege. ABC – RN – By Anna Kelsey-Sugg and Sasha Fegan for Late Night Live She believes many white people are unconscious of their privilege, but — often — that’s a message they don’t want a bar of. “For many white people the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will cause ... Read More »

Q&A: John Marsden says he would not have written the Tomorrow series today

A string of questions centred around race relations and immigration were directed at a panel of authors on Q&A’s panel on Monday night. ABC On the desk with host Tony Jones were John Marsden, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Sofie Laguna, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Trent Dalton. Marsden was asked whether his Tomorrow series, starting with the 1993 novel Tomorrow When the War Began, helped raise a generation of Australians who feared foreign invasion. “I hope not,” Marsden said. “It was written ... Read More »

The stacks of cash needed to buy basic goods tell Venezuela’s insane inflation story

In a desperate bid to curb its runaway inflation rate, Venezuela has lopped five zeros from its currency. Edmund Heaphy Quartz The move yesterday, which came along with a 95% devaluation of the currency—known as the “strong bolívar”—was also accompanied by a hike in gas prices and a 3,000% increase in the minimum wage. New banknotes for the currency, now called the the “sovereign bolívar”, were introduced. The redenominated bolívar is now pegged to the petro, a state-run cryptocurrency that doesn’t ... Read More »

Why should Kofi Annan’s death cause us to forget how bad at his job he was?

Failure falls upwards. Dominic Green Spectator We’re supposed only say good things about the dead—‘De mortuis & c.’, as one of John Buchan’s heroes manfully abbreviates it. It’s an ancient superstition, apotropaic and illogical. I’m with the Archdeacon in Anthony Trollope’s The Last Chronicle of Barset: the taboo is ‘founded in humbug’, so why adopt the ‘everyday decency of speaking well of one whom one had ever thought ill’? The deceasedness of the deceased means we can say what we really ... Read More »

Why the EU can’t outsource its migration crisis

Brussels’ proposal to create processing centers in North Africa creates more problems than it solves. Melanie Ward Politico LONDON — When disagreements over how best to share the responsibility for asylum seekers and migrants in the European Union flared up earlier this summer, EU policymakers reached once again for a familiar proposal. Rather than seek out a compromise over how best to protect people seeking refuge from conflict or persecution, Europe’s leaders agreed to explore creating so-called “regional disembarkation platforms” — centers outside ... Read More »

Modern myths about cancer – from ‘chemicals’ in food to wifi

The idea that lifestyle changes have made the disease more common is a gross exaggeration – but increasingly prevalent. We separate fact from fiction Naomi Elster The Guardian Cancer is not up there with the most likely explanations for what caused the mass extinction 66m years ago of the T rex and the triceratops. That said, at least one species of dinosaur suffered from blood-vessel tumours – and a 1.7m-year-old toe with bone cancerwas discovered in 2016 at a South African world heritage site. Cancer ... Read More »

Nauru hunger strike: Border Force abandons multiple attempts to move child to Australia

Australian Border Force refuses to allow boy, who has refused food for 19 days, to travel with stepfather Ben Doherty The Guardian Efforts to move a 12-year-old refugee boy on hunger strike on Nauru to a hospital in Australia failed at the weekend, after the Australian Border Force refused to allow his stepfather to travel with him. The 12-year-old boy weighs just 36kg and cannot stand up, after more than two weeks refusing food. He is at risk of death within days, ... Read More »

Who owns the moon? A space lawyer answers

Most likely, this is the best-known picture of a flag ever taken: Buzz Aldrin standing next to the first U.S. flag planted on the Moon. Frans von der Dunk The Conversation For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. Only less than a century ago, back on Earth, planting a national flag in another part of the world still amounted to claiming that territory for the fatherland. Did the Stars and Stripes on the moon ... Read More »