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Family of ‘beautiful’ teen plead for pill testing after suspected festival drug overdose

The family of the latest young person to die of a suspected overdose at a music festival has pleaded with NSW Premer Gladys Berejiklian to show ”strong leadership” and introduce pill testing. Sarah Keoghan & Lucy Cormack The Age Central Coast teenager Alex Ross-King, 19, died after taking a suspected dose of pills at the FOMO festival in Parramatta at the weekend. Family members of the teenager have pleaded with the government to introduce pill testing in “legacy” of her death, ... Read More »

‘Real risk’ of refugees freezing to death in Syria after rains destroy shelters

As temperatures fall, aid workers warn of danger to at least 11,000 people across Idlib, with storms also battering camps in Lebanon Rebecca Ratcliffe The Guardian At least 11,000 child refugees and their families are facing a weekend of freezing temperatures with no shelter, after torrential rains across Syria’s Idlib province swept away tents and belongings. Aid workers warn there is a real risk people will simply freeze to death as temperatures have already dropped to -1C, amid a shortage of ... Read More »

US withdrawing gear from Syria, but not troops

The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials said amid uncertainty over America’s planned exit from the war-battered nation. Washington – AFP Hurriyet President Donald Trump last month claimed ISIL had been defeated in Syria and said all US troops were “coming back now.” But in the weeks since he gave the order, and the Pentagon began to implement it, Trump himself and members of his administration have delivered mixed messages about when ... Read More »

US House Democrats file bills to stop offshore drilling, exploration

House Democrats on Tuesday, 8 January, introduced a series of bills that would block the Trump administration from permitting offshore drilling in various regions of the U.S. exclusive economic zone. Steve Bittenbender SeafoodSource Opponents of offshore drilling claim the practice could devastate both the environment and the economies of coastal communities, with the fishing industry particularly at risk. “President Trump’s dangerous plans for offshore drilling will risk the livelihoods of millions on the Atlantic Coast and in New Jersey,” said ... Read More »

Xi Jinping will Give Donald Trump a Victory on Trade

Expect Trump to declare a “triumph” in a great trade deal that will feature China’s purchase of more than a trillion dollars of additional U.S. products. Graham Allison The National Interest With the conclusion of the first round of negotiations yesterday in Beijing, the way ahead for the United States and China to avoid a full-scale tariff war has become clear. With fifty days remaining before the March 1 end of the truce Trump and Xi announced to prevent U.S. ... Read More »

How Viktor Orban degraded Hungary’s weak democracy

The roots of democracy in Hungary are shallow. John Shattuck The Conversation That’s been especially clear in the last nine years, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban has created a repressive and increasingly authoritarian state, operating under a pretense of democracy. In recent weeks the political situation has become volatile. By early 2019 the Hungarian government was the target of a series of major demonstrations in Budapest and other Hungarian cities. A flash point was a new labor law allowing employers ... Read More »

Manipur Governor sees NE as exclusive economic zone for organic products

Manipur Governor Dr Najma A Heptulla attends fourth Convocation of Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal at its Iroishemba campus near Imphal SOBHAPATI SAMOM NorthEast Now The Northeast should be developed as an exclusive economic zone for organic products as the advantage of organic farming needs to be exploited suitably through technical and institutional interventions. This was disclosed by the Manipur Governor Dr Najma A Heptulla while addressing the fourth Convocation of Central Agricultural University (CAU), Imphal at its Iroishemba campus ... Read More »

The politics of fear: How fear goes tribal, allowing us to be manipulated

Fear is arguably as old as life. It is deeply ingrained in the living organisms that have survived extinction through billions of years of evolution. Arash Javanbakht The Conversation Its roots are deep in our core psychological and biological being, and it is one of our most intimate feelings. Danger and war are as old as human history, and so are politics and religion. Demagogues have always used fear for intimidation of the subordinates or enemies, and shepherding the tribe ... Read More »

SNP ‘will help block Brexit’ for new independence vote

A government of national unity is needed to halt Brexit, a leading SNP MP has argued – but the Nationalists should only take part if the right to hold a second independence referendum is granted. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman Joanna Cherry said a temporary cross-party government would be required to extend the Article 50 process to allow a second EU referendum to take place. But the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West said the Scottish Government “must be granted the ... Read More »

Rights of prisoners with intellectual disabilities must be respected

Study exposes shortcomings in treatment of prisoners with IDs, treatment they are entitled to George Winter The Irish Times In 2006, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted, promoting autonomy, choice, independence, equality and participation. The CRPD includes provision for those with intellectual disability (ID). This is typically diagnosed if individuals have an IQ below 70; an impaired ability to effectively interact with society on all levels and care for themselves; and have had developmental ... Read More »

European Parliament is failing on transparency

Voters have to be reassured MEPs are being held accountable. Heidi Hautala Politico When it comes to transparency, the European Parliament’s motto has become: Do as I say, not as I do. Members of the key European institution are fighting crucial reforms to ensure MEPs act by a shared set of public spending rules. As a relatively new member of the European Parliament Bureau — where decisions regarding the Parliament’s administration and budget are made — I have experienced first hand how ... Read More »

Erdogan’s $2 Billion Reason to Thank the Saudis

Turkey shrewdly took advantage of the spillover demand from Riyadh’s bond sale this week. Investors may well be underpricing the economic risks. Marcus Ashworth Bloomberg There are opportunistic financing deals, and then there’s Turkey. A $2 billion 10-year bond sale appeared out of nowhere for the country on Wednesday, with no roadshow and… But there was one big helping hand. Saudi Arabia had just launched $7.5 billion of new 10- and 30-year notes and had elected for tighter pricing rather ... Read More »

Tumor-free flounder are just 1 dividend from the cleanup of Boston Harbor

Thirty years ago, during the 1988 presidential campaign, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush took a boat ride across Boston Harbor and derided the environmental record of his rival, Massachusetts… Michael Moore The Conversation Bush was right. For decades Boston had been dumping barely treated sewage into the harbor, although a court-ordered cleanup was just starting. Since 1986 colleagues and I have studied tumors in Boston Harbor flounder, which were a major driver of public outcry over the state of the ... Read More »

The Damage of Demographic Misinterpretations

The way demographers treat Hispanics is both out of date and incorrect. Amitai Etzioni The National Interest The New York Times recently repeated an often cited misleading figure on demographics, that by 2044 “white Americans [are] projected to fall below half the population and lose their majority status.” This claim has unusually wide-reaching implications for America’s polarized politics. It is leading many whites, especially among those who have not been to college and who live in rural areas, to fear that they will be ... Read More »