Society

Human memory: How we make, remember, and forget memories

As we access a memory, many parts of our brains rapidly talk to each other, represented here by colorized fibers. Michael Gresko National Geographic Human memory happens in many parts of the brain at once, and some types of memories stick around longer than others. From the moment we are born, our brains are bombarded by an immense amount of information about ourselves and the world around us. So, how do we hold on to everything we’ve learned and experienced? ... Read More »

How the next Australian government can balance security and compassion for asylum seekers

This is part of a major series called Advancing Australia, in which leading academics examine the key issues facing Australia in the lead-up to the 2019 federal election and beyond. Read the other pieces in the series here. Alex Reilly The Conversation With a rapidly changing climate and increased instability in the world order, patterns of people movement are likely to change dramatically in the future. It is not a tenable response to isolate Australia from the… Sadly, the politicisation ... Read More »

Turkey faces growing Kurdish insurgency in Syria’s Afrin

Ever since the Turkish military and allied factions from the Free Syrian Army drove the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out of Kurdish-dominated Afrin in March 2017, there has been almost no independent reporting on how the… Amberin Zaman Al Monitor The United Nations and Human Rights Watch are among a handful of international bodies that have offered valuable insight on the massive human rights abuses — rape, theft, extortion, kidnappings and the… The UN said some of these actions amount to war ... Read More »

Andrew Bolt, please stop implying that you know all the facts about George Pell

Clare Linane, whose husband Peter Blenkiron is a survivor of clerical child abuse, writes in response to Andrew Bolt’s defence of George Pell Clare Linane The Guardian I am a Ballarat local who has been living with the aftermath of child sexual abuse for many years. My husband, Peter Blenkiron, is a survivor of clergy abuse at 11-years-old. You met him whilst in Rome three years ago. I am compelled to write to you after you expressed your opinion that ... Read More »

Renewing Europe

European citizens need to learn from the Brexit impasse and apply those lessons ahead of and after the European Parliament election in May. Emmanuel Macron Project Syndicate That means embracing reforms that advance the three goals that lie at the heart of the European project. PARIS – Never, since World War II, has Europe been as essential. Yet never has Europe been in so much danger. Brexit stands as the symbol of that. It symbolises the crisis of Europe, which ... Read More »

The Killing Times: the massacres of Aboriginal people Australia must confront

Special report: Shootings, poisonings and children driven off cliffs – this is a record of state-sanctioned slaughter • A massacre map of Australia’s frontier wars – interactive Lorena Allam and Nick Evershed The Guardian The truth of Australia’s history has long been hiding in plain sight. The stories of “the killing times” are the ones we have heard in secret, or told in hushed tones. They are not the stories that appear in our history books yet they refuse to go away. ... Read More »

‘You Have to Pay With Your Body’: The Hidden Nightmare of Sexual Violence on the Border

MCALLEN, Tex. — It was dark in the stash house where they kept her, the windows covered so no one could see inside. Manny Fernandez The New York Times At first, the smugglers had her cook for the other migrants who had recently crossed illegally into the United States. Then they took her to a room upstairs, locked the door and began taking turns with her. It was the summer of 2014, and Melvin, a 36-year-old mother of three, had ... Read More »

My anger with George Pell has been replaced by immense sadness

I don’t see a monster. I see all the women and children and men and nuns and priests destroyed by shame, fear and lies Christos Tsiolkas The Guardian I  have been angry with Cardinal George Pell for a long time. That anger was first stirred by his absolute disdain for extending compassion to people living with Aids, and also by his refusal to accept queer people into Catholic fellowship. I was also made furious by his perverting of the teachings ... Read More »

Deported parents who were sent back to Central America while their children remained in the U.S. trek to the border and demand to be reunited

Central American migrant parents deported by the US are demanding asylum They are asking American authorities to allow them to rejoin their children Some of the parents have not seen their children for a year By Ariel Zilber For Dailymail.com and Agencies Daily Mail Central American migrant parents deported by the United States are demanding asylum and to be reunited with the children from whom they were separated. The parents who were forcibly sent back to Central America after illegally ... Read More »

UK-US trade deal: Envoy attacks ‘myths’ about US farming

Fears over chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef are “myths”, according to the US ambassador to the UK. BBC In the Daily Telegraph, Woody Johnson urged the UK to embrace US farming methods after Washington published its objectives for a UK-US trade deal. EU rules currently limit US exports of certain food products, including chicken and beef – but Mr Johnson wants that to change in the UK after Brexit. Downing Street has repeatedly… A No 10… UK-US trade… Read More »

The most dangerous thing about democracy

It fascinates me that, while you and I live snarled in the barbs and infuriations of petty bureaucracy – arbitrary speeding fines, council refusals of backyard follies, strata-bodies’ vengeance feuds, the brute humiliations of the Centrelink crawl and the perpetual requirement to choose medical insurers, super funds and… The Sydney Morning Herald Threats of criminal action? Oh I’m so dreadfully sorry, let me resign forthwith (on my multi-million pension). Tax? Pah. Tax is what the poor pay and the rich ... Read More »

The Irish Times view on the legal system: access denied

A great many people cannot afford to go to court because of the exorbitant amounts of money involved even for relatively straightforward cases. The Irish Times An effective legal system is a basic tenet of a functioning democracy, but no legal system can be effective unless every citizen has access to it. That points to a fundamental deficiency in our Republic. Long delays and outdated procedures contribute to the problem by deterring people from taking legal action, but the real ... Read More »

Crossing Divides: The friends who are good for your brain

Creative thinking is essential for everything from solving problems to personal fulfilment. So, how can we do more to nurture it? By Julie Van de Vyver & Richard Crisp, Durham University BBC Every day we are expected to make hundreds of decisions and judgements. These range from small ones, like what to have for breakfast, to big ones like whether to take a new job. The trouble is that our mental resources are limited – the human mind can only cope ... Read More »

Spain unveils ‘generous’ plan to protect British citizens in event of no-deal Brexit

Spain’s plans includes residency rights and healthcare protections to UK citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit Nick Duffy The Scotsman The Spanish government has unveiled plans to protect UK citizens even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It unveiled a “generous” plan to guarantee residency and healthcare rights to UK citizens. Spain is home to the largest British diaspora within the EU, with an estimated 400,000 UK citizens living in the country. Spain wants reciprocity The plan announced ... Read More »

Canada allows extradition case against Huawei executive to proceed

China, whose relations with Canada have deteriorated badly over the case, denounces the latest move to extradite Meng Wanzhou. sky news Canada has said it will allow the US extradition case against Huawei’s chief financial officer to go ahead. Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested last December at the request of the US, which has accused her of fraud linked to violating sanctions on Iran. She is currently on bail in Vancouver and will appear ... Read More »

Brexit: Border backstop will not be removed from agreement, says Barnier

Slovenia suggested many EU states willing to accept a short Brexit delay The Irish Times Brussels is ready to give the UK further “guarantees, assurances and clarifications” that the Irish backstop should only be temporary, Michel Barnier has said. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator insisted that the controversial measure, intended to avoid a hard border on Ireland, will not be removed from the withdrawal agreement. While acknowledging Brexiteer concerns that the backstop is a trap that would keep the UK tied to ... Read More »