Search Results: Middle East

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  • AUSTRALIA

    What's eating Syria and Iraq

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 16 June 2014
    11 Comments

    In October 2013, Jesuit Fr Frans van der Lugt wrote about the suffering of the besieged people of Homs in Syria: 'Despite these difficulties, we keep grasping onto hope.' On 7 April 2014 he was executed outside his home. The rout of Iraqi forces in Mosul by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant must be a worry to the Iraqi authorities and the US and Western countries that have invested so much in the new post Saddam Iraq.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Super's evil empire on shaky ground

    • Brian Toohey
    • 10 June 2014
    15 Comments

    The superannuation industry inhabits a cosseted world in which the money pours in thanks to a combination of government compulsion and tax concessions. The foundations of this empire are criticised for how the tax concessions create an expensive form of upper class welfare, and for the harmful effect of compulsory super's artificial expansion of the finance sector. The Abbott Government shows scant concern about either aspect.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Pope Francis and the power of tears

    • Michael Mullins
    • 01 June 2014
    4 Comments

    The Pope says we have 'forgotten how to weep'. The most potent moments in current affairs television occur when a person is shown to cry, yet we're taught to believe that 'breaking down' means that we're not in command of the argument. Julie Bishop could not have been unmoved if the jostling Sydney University students had instead wept over the lost educational opportunity in the Federal Budget.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Thai coup more of the same

    • Michael Kelly
    • 25 May 2014
    3 Comments

    The cycle of election, opposition protest, social and political instability that provokes a royal approved military intervention underlies how immature democracy is in Thailand. Unfortunately, in the medium term — the next five years — it will be 'same, same' unless there is a circuit breaker. That may come with the next trigger to instability which has to be set off sooner rather than later: the death of a very frail royal person.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    The trust deficit is international

    • Evan Ellis
    • 19 May 2014
    2 Comments

    Despite the bloodletting of last week's budget, the Australian Government could still find  some 12 billion dollars for 58 Joint Strike Fighters. This is part of the reality of the Asian Century. Australia will need statesmen and women of the highest calibre, but ultimately a lasting peace requires all nations to act together to create an international order that is actually ordered.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bill Shorten's WorkChoices moment

    • Fatima Measham
    • 18 May 2014
    16 Comments

    Notwithstanding Kevin Rudd's merit as a candidate, there is no doubt that the unions-led campaign against WorkChoices was pivotal to handing government to Labor. What Bill Shorten has been handed this week in the Federal Budget is several WorkChoices with which to galvanise people. He needed it. His Budget reply offered a glimpse of the sort of Opposition Leader that Australians deserve.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Our Lady of Perpetual Retail

    • Josephine Clarke
    • 05 May 2014

    Pilgrims arrive to the hiss and gush of bus brakes and it is always the liturgical season of steel. Dockets fly like white moths; we communicate in glance. Our Lady of Perpetual Retail lives here ... You have every reason to steal. In spring Boronia brings its breath of silent spaces not for sale in this temple.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Star Wars fails the colour test

    • Fatima Measham
    • 01 May 2014
    11 Comments

    As I scanned the actor profiles for the new Star Wars film, it became apparent that no brown actress was among them. The mythology George Lucas created 40 years ago remains predominantly male and white. What happens when brown women are kept out of the picture is that their invisibility is normalised. We are not seen to contribute, much less lead. This is not harmless. It makes our presence in society incidental. Dispensable.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dickens' song for the poor

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 29 April 2014
    8 Comments

    While Dickens, staunch champion of the poor and of children, reportedly hoped that A Christmas Carol might encourage the restoration of social harmony, his narrative line can also be seen as a convenient plot device. It is a deeply Christian story, not just about Christmas, but about life itself, about actions and their consequences, the need for wrongs to be made right, and the desire for hope and potentiality of renewal.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Palmer power! Lessons from the Senate by-election

    • Ray Cassin
    • 10 April 2014
    2 Comments

    The most insidious outcome of the WA Senate election is the bargaining power it has delivered to Clive Palmer, the Queensland mining magnate who dominates the party on which he has bestowed his name. He massively outspent all his rivals, raising yet again the question of whether limits should be placed on private financing of political campaigns. It is a question that, because of his newfound clout, will not be answered anytime soon.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Harsh home truths for returned asylum seekers

    • Paul White
    • 06 April 2014
    13 Comments

    Returnees to the Congo have been harassed, imprisoned and tortured by state authorities. Some have disappeared altogether. Forced returnees to Sri Lanka are routinely detained and quite often suffer torture. Hazaras returned to Afghanistan are persecuted due to their ethnicity and their adherence to the Shi'a sect. Australia continues to forcibly return asylum seekers, placing them in tremendous danger, ignoring a 2000 Senate Committee recommendation.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Be selfish, save the planet

    • Megan Graham
    • 01 April 2014
    3 Comments

    Just a few days after we marked the annual observance of Earth Hour, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report, emphasising the likelihood of an increase in extreme and irreversible damage. In light of this, the fact that we deem Earth Hour to even be necessary seems akin to prompting a dog to notice its kennel is on fire. Unless the dog is in very bad health, it would do what it needs to do to save itself.

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