Humanity

‘The last moments were beautiful’: Wife remembers firefighter who died at Swiss euthanasia clinic

When Christine Thornton said goodbye to her husband at a euthanasia clinic in Switzerland last week, he turned to her, told her he loved her, and said, “I’m going now”. Simone Fox Koob WAtoday They had spent four days by each other’s side, having coffee in Basel’s picturesque old town, eating cheese in the Swiss Alps and visiting the border so her husband could say he’d been to France. “Troy said to me it was a lovely way to spend ... Read More »

Climate change: narrate a history beyond the ‘triumph of humanity’ to find imaginative solutions

One reason why people find it difficult to think about climate change and the future may be their understanding of human history. Amanda Power The Conversation The present day is believed to be the product of centuries of development. These developments have led to a globalised world of complex states, in which daily life for most people is highly urbanised, consumerist and competitive. By this account, humanity has triumphed over the dangers and uncertainties of the natural world, and this ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #6

Trendline: Putting Yemen to Work Late February brought some hope to Yemen’s embattled population, large segments of which were on the verge of starvation at the end of 2018. ICG The UN announced that it had both raised billions of dollars to pay for its humanitarian work over the coming year and had regained access to the Red Sea Mills, an important food storage and distribution hub outside the port city of Hodeida for the first time in five months. ... Read More »

Society is still failing in its duty of care to children in detention

The findings of the inquiry into child sexual abuse in custodial institutions make distressing but necessary reading Editorial Independent ” The report of the inquiry into the sexual abuse of children in custody is yet another cause of frustration that so much of our political and media attention is focused solely on Brexit. There are so many things wrong with Britain today that are barely affected by whether we are in or out of the European Union. Some of the hardest problems ... Read More »

When a kid breaks the law there’s so much more going on below the surface

We must recognise the link between mental conditions and youth crime Anonymous The Guardian The Kimberley is an exceptionally beautiful part of the continent. None of its natural splendour can be seen in one of the region’s courtrooms, however. The only noteworthy feature is the Western Australian coat of arms, with its iconic black swan and kangaroo paw. Opposite the magistrate’s chair sits a wide screen television, used in part to reach young offenders via video link. This screen streams ... Read More »

Argentine 11-year-old’s C-section sparks new abortion debate

The girl had been raped but doctors delayed her abortion request until they were forced to do a caesarean section at 23 weeks. SBS A caesarean section carried out on an 11-year-old girl raped by her grandmother’s husband has reopened the debate about abortion in Argentina, where rules on pregnancy terminations are strict. “I want you to take out of my tummy what the old man put there,” the girl had said in a complaint lodged with authorities in the ... Read More »

‘Centuries of entitlement’: Emma Thompson on why she quit Lasseter film

In her resignation letter from the film Luck, the actor questions whether any company should work with disgraced film executive John Lasseter Emma Thompson The Guardian When the actor Emma Thompson left the forthcoming animated film Luck last month while it was still in production, it was done without public fanfare, and was only confirmed when film-industry publications such as Variety magazine picked up on it. Now Thompson has put herself firmly above the MeToo parapet with the publication publishing her ... Read More »

Police violence against gilets jaunes sparks broad backlash

Riot police using flashballs and rubber bullets in France have caused severe harm. Now, a movement is growing to disarm them. Oliver Haynes reports New Internationalist Since that now infamous Act 2 protest in Paris on the 24th of November in which the first riots erupted on the Champs Elysee, the gilets jaunes, or ‘yellow vests’, have been met by an increasingly heavy handed police response. The 15th of December in Paris saw this reach an absurd peak when there ... Read More »

Supreme Court will look at whether a cross is promotion of religion or war memorial

The Supreme Court justices, long divided on the role of religion, are set to decide whether a 40-foot Latin cross sitting at a busy intersection in Maryland is an unconstitutional official endorsement of Christianity or a… David G. Savage Los Angeles Times It will be the first major religion case for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, and the outcome could signal whether the court’s five conservatives are prepared to give small towns, counties and… At issue is the 1st Amendment’s ban ... Read More »

The Political Management of North Korean Society

North Korea’s political management system of carrots and sticks has enabled the regime to survive for 66 years. By Subbiah Lakshmanan The Globalist Securing foreign currency is critical to the political management of North Korean society. It is the key element in buttressing loyalty for Kim Jong Un. That aside, both carrots and sticks are used to run the system of managing North Korea’s society politically. They can be categorized as follows. Carrots 1. “Gifting”/Patronage system In a society where ... Read More »

Royal Commissions tell us a great deal about Corruption. But will Justice be an inevitable final chapter?

The string of Royal Commissions have provided us with stinging visual images of corruption, notably among bankers and clergymen. Josephine Zananiri Tasmanian Times Aside from some gratifyingly blunt cross-examination, causing a degree of humiliation, the legal outcomes are far from clear. At this point we might hazard a guess that corruption and justice are a sleight of hand depending on the cards dealt. Now if you happened by chance to find yourself in the top say five per cent of ... Read More »

Eamonn McCann: Why Chagos Islanders should be hailed as heroes

UN court finding may open the way for Chagos Islanders’ to return home The Irish Times In The Hague last month, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration found that the United Kingdom’s declaration in 2010 of a Marine Protection Area around the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean was illegal. The decision endorsed the claim of the government of Mauritius that the UK did not have jurisdiction to make rulings relating to the status of the area. The finding ... Read More »

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 »