Opinion

Australia can’t be allowed to play politics with refugees’ lives any more

There is an urgent medical crisis on Nauru and Manus. It needs an urgent medical solution, not a political one Freya Dinshaw The Guardian I have seen up close how six years of abject hopelessness can viciously conquer a person’s body and mind to the point where they are a shadow of a human being. A man, barely in his 30s, left catatonic, unable to speak, unable to eat, wasting away in a bed. A woman attempting to take her ... Read More »

Having More Education Won’t Slow the Effects of Dementia, New Study Says

”Researchers are still trying to piece together how and why the brain starts failing in old age, but one thing seemed for sure: that having more education earlier in life could build up a robust enough brain reserve to slow down the… Alice Perk Time But in a new study published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that education may not be as important in combating cognitive decline and dementia as they once thought. In a study involving nearly 3,000 ... Read More »

Anxiety on rise among the young in social media age

YouGov survey shows 18% of young people in UK do not think life is worth living Robert Booth The Guardian The number of young people in the UK who say they do not believe that life is worth living has doubled in the last decade, amid a sense of overwhelming pressure from social media which is driving feelings of inadequacy, new research suggests. In 2009, only 9% of 16-25-year-olds disagreed with the statement that “life is really worth living”, but ... Read More »

I’m a contented atheist. My conscience is my only god

I floated in and out of Catholic and Hindu beliefs until one day I stopped Cauvery Madhavan The Irish Times I was born in India into a reasonably devout Hindu family and therefore, very unsurprisingly for then, received a traditional Catholic schooling. Educated by nuns, Irish in the main, I was one of many millions of children who were part of that strange trade-off between middle-class Indians of various faiths and the Catholic Church. To be “convent-educated” meant you had received more than ... Read More »

Time away from Facebook may improve your wellbeing

Despite the scandals of recent years, billions of people still log on to Facebook each month to catch up with the news and see what their friends and family are up to. Christian Today But some time away from the social media platform could do us all some good, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford and NYU. The study, titled The Welfare Effects of Social Media, has found ‘small but significant improvements in wellbeing’ from giving Facebook a ... Read More »

No kids on Nauru is a milestone worth marking – but it’s hardly one for the trophy cabinet

Within days, no refugee child will be left on the island of Nauru. That this is a milestone worth marking – or even celebrating – should be a shock and a shame. Michael Koziol Brisbane Times These kids and their families had been there more than five years. Two thousand days. It had been so long that many people here in Australia finally seemed to agree enough was enough. Peter Dutton has always proclaimed – rightly – that he didn’t ... Read More »

House punts on full transparency

The Massachusetts House this week overwhelmingly declined to adopt a full ban on the use of nondisclosure agreements by its members in sexual harassment cases — again. Editorial Boston Globe In stark contrast, the state Senate voted to eliminate their use altogether. In rejecting a sensible, basic measure, the House further entrenched a culture of secrecy that has no place in government. House rules currently allow the use of so-called NDAs only if victims of sexual harassment request them. Typically ... Read More »

Reuniting the Parthenon marbles is nothing to do with nationalism

Alexi Kaye Campbell responds to Jonathan Jones’s article on the British Museum director’s claim that the marbles’ removal from Greece in the 19th century could be seen as ‘a creative act’. The Guardian Plus letters from Pierre Makhlouf and John AK Huntley As a member of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles who recently argued (and happily won) against Jonathan Jones at the UCL debate which he mentions in his recent article (Let’s not lose our marbles over the British ... Read More »

Brexit: Capital takes flight from UK amid crisis – leader comment

EU will not compromise its fundamental values so British MPs need to stop opposing everything and make a choice between May’s deal and a second referendum. The Scotsman An answer to the Irish border question posed by Brexit could risk the Good Friday Agreement and the integrity of the European Union’s single market. So when MPs decided to send Theresa May back to Brussels to renegotiate not the answer itself, but the ‘backstop’ arrangement in the event that one cannot ... Read More »

The Threat of a Eurozone Recession

The eurozone may fall into a new recession by the end of this year, with potentially nasty political consequences. Lucrezia Reichlin Project Syndicate In addition to countering the cyclical slowdown, pro-European forces must urgently address the continent’s long-term structural economic problems. LONDON – National statistical offices and international organizations are busy revising down their growth forecasts for Europe this year and next. Although they are doing the same for the rest of the world as well, and for China in ... Read More »

The whitewashing of Japan’s Naomi Osaka was no accident

This week, Naomi Osaka became the face of Japan to the world. By capturing the 2019 Australian Open, she has raced to No. 1 in the tennis world rankings, becoming the first Asian to ever achieve that honor. Baye McNeil The Washington Post But even as this exceptionally talented biracial, multinational and (as she phrased it) obviously tan woman was displaying why she’s a champion, one of her sponsors, the Japanese food brand Nissin, released an anime-style advertisement portraying Osaka ... Read More »

Europe’s refugee crisis explains why border walls don’t stop migration

President Trump has long called migration a security crisis, but in recent weeks he has also referred to the situation along the southern border as a humanitarian crisis. Eleanor Paynter The Conversation As he ended the government shutdown in a televised speech on Jan. 25, Trump reiterated his claim that a border wall between the United States and Mexico would save the lives of Central American migrants, many of whom are women and children. “Walls work,” he said. “They save ... Read More »

Unhappy, unhealthy lives aren’t fair exchange for higher incomes

In his Australia Day address, social researcher Hugh Mackay said that “the Australia I love today – this sleep-deprived, overweight, overmedicated, anxious, smartphone-addicted society – is a very different place from the Australia I… Ross Gittins Brisbane Times He identified three big changes: the gender revolution, increasing disparity in wealth, and social fragmentation. He approves of the first, but laments that we’re “learning to live with a chasm of income inequality” and that social fragmentation means Australians are become “more ... Read More »

Fight for Europe – or the wreckers will destroy it

The continent faces its biggest challenge since the 1930s. We urge European patriots to resist the nationalist onslaught Bernard-Henri Lévy, Milan Kundera, Salman Rushdie, Elfriede Jelinek, Orhan Pamuk and 25 others Europe ‘coming apart before our eyes’, say 30 top intellectuals The Guardian The idea of Europe is in peril. From all sides there are criticisms, insults and desertions from the cause. “Enough of ‘building Europe’!” is the cry. Let’s reconnect instead with our “national soul”! Let’s rediscover our “lost identity”! This is the agenda shared ... Read More »

We need a robust patriotism, not ‘my country, right or wrong’

Love can be hard to explain. There’s no formula to how it works, but you know it when it’s there. You know when it moves you, or when it gets you worked up. Tim Soutphommasane The Age What’s true for a love of a person is also true for a love of country. Most of us will have an affection for Australia. It isn’t always something we find easy to express. Emotions rarely are. Patriotism comes in many forms. The ... Read More »

Why I Am a European Patriot

The bond that binds the West is freedom. Patriotism is to nationalism as dignity is to barbarism. Roger Cohen The New York Times When I covered the war in Bosnia I got to know Nermin Tulic, a prominent Sarajevo actor. He had his legs blown off by a Serbian shell on June 10, 1992. He raged. He begged me not to look at his stumps. He wondered how he had ever taken his wife, who was half-Serb, in his arms. He told me ... Read More »