Humanity

Outrage over antisemitic attacks in France presents opportunity for Emmanuel Macron to heal wartime wounds

France has recently been rocked by a series of antisemitic attacks. Portraits on post boxes of the late Simone Veil – a Holocaust survivor and the country’s first minister for women’s affairs – were vandalised. David Lees The Conversation The philosopher Alain Finkelkrault was verbally abused by protesters from the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) movement. A number of tombstones in Jewish cemeteries have been defaced with Swastikas and a man was shot with an air rifle outside a synagogue in ... Read More »

Guatemala amnesty bill stirs fears of impunity and revenge of ex-military

Legislation that would grant amnesty to anyone convicted or accused of human rights violations during Guatemala’s long-running civil war has raised fears that dozens of perpetrators of forced disappearance, torture and… Leila Miller Los Angeles Times Backed by military elites and their allies, including members of the party of President Jimmy Morales, the proposed law passed the first of three congressional readings last month. If enacted, the bill would mandate the release within 24 hours of dozens of officials and ... Read More »

Australia Really Should Be Panicked About Coal

While China may not have banned imports yet, long-term demand is set to plummet globally. Mihir Sharma Bloomberg Sydney is a wonderful, modern town. But, over the past few days, all anyone here has wanted to talk to me about is that most 19th-century of industries: coal. It’s not hard to see why, after a startling report last week — quickly denied — that some Chinese ports had blocked shipments of Australian coal. The Australian dollar briefly tanked on the news. Australia’s trade ... Read More »

Lessons from the Syrian State’s Return to the South

Russian mediation helped reduce bloodshed during the Assad regime’s reconquest of southern Syria. ICG But for similar arrangements to work in remaining rebel strongholds, better security guarantees by outside powers are needed to prevent regime reprisals, improve aid flows and, down the road, facilitate refugee return. What’s new? When the Syrian regime retook the south from rebels in mid-2018, Russian mediation limited the violence. Six months later, security and living conditions remain precarious; the regime has re-established authoritarian rule; and ... Read More »

Workism Is Making Americans Miserable

For the college-educated elite, work has morphed into a religious identity—promising identity, transcendence, and community, but failing to deliver. Derek Thompson The Atlantic In his 1930 essay “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren,” the economist John Maynard Keynes predicted a 15-hour workweek in the 21st century, creating the equivalent of a five-day weekend. “For the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem,” Keynes wrote, “how to occupy the leisure.” This became a popular view. ... Read More »

These Are the World’s Healthiest Nations

Maybe it’s something in the gazpacho or paella, as Spain just surpassed Italy to become the world’s healthiest country. By Lee J Miller and Wei Lu Bloomberg That’s according to the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index, which ranks 169 economies according to factors that contribute to overall health. Spain placed sixth in the previous gauge, published in 2017. Four additional European nations were among the top 10 in 2019: Iceland (third place), Switzerland (fifth), Sweden (sixth) and Norway (ninth). Japan ... Read More »

Pope Francis Ends Landmark Sex Abuse Meeting With Strong Words, but Few Actions

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis ended a landmark Vatican meeting on clerical sexual abuse by calling “for an all-out battle against the abuse of minors” and insisting that the church needed to protect… By Jason Horowitz and Elizabeth Dias The New York Times But for all the vivid language and the vow “to combat this evil that strikes at the very heart of our mission,” the pope’s speech was short on the sort of detailed battle plan demanded by many ... Read More »

Tajikistan: Activist Forcibly Returned from Russia

Faces Torture, Politically Motivated Prosecution (New York) – Tajik and Russian officials arbitrarily detained and forcibly returned to Tajikistan a peaceful opposition activist while he was visiting Moscow, the Association of Central Asian Migrants, Association for… HRW The activist, Sharofiddin Gadoev, is being held in Tajikistan. The government has issued a series of choreographed videos and photographs designed to show that he “voluntarily” returned. Russian and Tajik officials beat him in Moscow and on the flight to Tajikistan. Gadoev should be released and allowed ... Read More »

Saudi crown prince defends China’s use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman turned a blind eye to the plight of China’s Uighur Muslims when he met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Feb. 22. ANKARA – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The Uighur community both inside and outside China had expected bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, to raise the issue of China’s human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs. Instead, he… “We respect and support China’s right to take ... Read More »

The sharks are circling ahead of the election — and it’s asylum seeker policy in the ‘chum bucket’

In full parliamentary flight this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison raged at Labor that it had “gone to the bottom of the chum bucket” when it started its probing of… Laura Tingle ABC Chum buckets, for anyone not familiar with the term, are buckets full of fish guts and heads and other smelly stuff that is thrown into the water by fishermen to attract a feeding frenzy of fish, particularly… And there was some truth to what the Prime Minister ... Read More »

Work ban forces asylum seekers into destitution – but we now have a chance to change this policy

One of the ugly realities of the British asylum system lies in the work ban placed on people awaiting a decision on their asylum claim. Alex Powell The Conversation The ban on working often forces people to rely on friends and family, or, worse, into destitution. This restriction is often justified by the mistaken notion that it will limit the number of people claiming asylum in the UK. Following a sustained campaign, and two private members bills spearheaded by Labour ... Read More »

UN experts condemn Indonesia’s use of live snakes to interrogate Papuans

Experts are calling on the Indonesian government to launch an investigation into the alleged excessive use of force by police and military in West Papua. SBS United Nations experts have called for “prompt and impartial investigations” into alleged inhumane treatment and killings of Indigenous Papuans by Indonesian police and military, including using a live snake as an interrogation method. Earlier this month, Indonesian police admitted officers terrorised a handcuffed Papuan man with a live snake after video of the incident surfaced online. The ... Read More »

Christianity and Humanity—from a Distance

In 1923, a young assistant professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary named J. Gresham Machen published a scathing critique of the worldview animating establishment or “mainline” Protestant Christianity in Europe and America. Barton Swaim RealClearBooks That worldview, Machen argued in Christianity and Liberalism, consisted in a groveling obeisance to anything claiming to be based on “science.” So for instance if “science”—or the habit of mind claiming to be “scientific” that amounted to little more than doctrinaire materialism—insisted that ... Read More »

High Noon over Humanitarian Aid at Venezuela’s Border

Venezuela’s constitutional crisis continues to unfold, with the opposition amassing food and medicine on the borders with the stated intent of turning the military against President Nicolás Maduro, who is refusing the aid. Phil Gunson ICG In this Q&A, our Senior Analyst for Venezuela Phil Gunson explains the standoff. What happened? Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognised as the country’s interim president by dozens of countries including the U.S., has promised that on 23 February a… An aid concert, featuring a… High ... Read More »

“Michelle’s husband” Barack Obama speaks out about toxic masculinity

The former President spoke about the need to redefine masculine stereotypes that emphasised aggression and stoicism in order to gain respect. Sarah Malik SBS Former President Barack Obama has urged young men to change the way they view what it means to be man through embracing vulnerability and tackling racism. The talk was part of Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative – an education and mentoring scheme for young men of colour in America. At a conference in Oakland, the former ... Read More »

New Zealand says refugee deal still on table as PM Morrison arrives for visit

New Zealand says an offer to resettle refugees from Nauru or Manus Island is still on the table, dismissing a report it won’t accept single male asylum seekers. AAP – SBS New Zealand has dismissed reports it refused to resettle single male asylum seekers in Australian offshore processing. Since 2013, New Zealand’s government has publicly offered to settle at least 150 refugees being held on Nauru or Manus Island, but has been rebuffed by successive Australian prime ministers, despite a ... Read More »