keywords: Christmas

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Raul Castro's diplomatic love match with Pope Francis

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 13 May 2015
    2 Comments

    They spoke in Spanish and there was genuine Latin American warmness between them during Sunday's historic 55 minute meeting at the Vatican. They will meet again when Francis visits Cuba in September. Castro promised Francis that he would be attending every one of his masses, reminding him that he is a Jesuit alumnus: 'I'm as Jesuit as the Pope'.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    In love with Sooty

    • Peta Edmonds
    • 18 March 2015
    10 Comments

    She waits for me to get home at night. She meows at the door, and when I return gets under my feet. Sooty has been one of the best things to come into my life. I get entranced by her eyes, and I'm in love with her softness. Now I don't talk to myself, I talk to her. One week, when I was so poor, I spent the last of my money on her, on cat toys and a can of cat food and chicken drumsticks.

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  • RELIGION

    Atheist Pratchett's Discworld has lessons for Christians

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 16 March 2015
    4 Comments

    'You can't go around building a better world for people. Only people can build a better world. Otherwise it's just a cage.' When I heard English author Terry Pratchett had died, I immediately jumped online to start looking through some of my favourite quotes from his books. The above, from Witches Abroad, is one of many that have accompanied me over the years.   His 44 Discworld novels could be broadly described as comic fantasy, or fantasy satire, and yet that's really just the starting point for the immense variety of complicated ideas they explored in such a fun, joyous way. Perhaps strangely for someone whose work is so grounded in atheism, Pratchett has had a profound impact on my religious faith. Read more

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Libs take some image advice from Mad Men's Don Draper

    • Jim McDermott
    • 02 March 2015

    The inner sanctum of the Prime Minister’s office, filled with smoke. DON DRAPER sits in a chair, cigarette in one hand, tumbler of Scotch in the other. Across, Prime Minister TONY ABBOTT. Around them, members of his cabinet. GREG HUNT (coughing weakly): We really don't allow smoking in here. CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Plus, how do you still look so good? It’s 2015. Draper turns Pyne's way. His eyes glitter like steel. DON: Really, that's what you want to talk about right now, my looks? TONY: Now listen, Don, I did it all just like you said. Pushed up the spill motion to keep the momentum from building, said I would be more consultative, got on with the business of governing. And yet two weeks later ... Read more

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Govt spending must match domestic violence rhetoric

    • Stephanie Dowrick
    • 27 February 2015
    16 Comments

    The Prime Minister's choice of Rosie Batty as Australian of the Year is wholly admirable. Her advocacy about domestic violence following the tragic murder of her son by his father has been passionate and effective. But the praise heaped upon Rosie Batty is meaningless, even insulting, while support services are diminishing or disappearing for all the other women and children in need of immediate protection.

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  • Soul-destroying refugee policy shames Australia

    • Aloysious Mowe
    • 25 February 2015

    Just before Christmas last year, the United States Senate Select Intelligence Committee released its report on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, and its use of torture on detainees between 2002 and 2006. Among the report's key findings was the fact that the brutality of the torture and the harshness of the detention regime went beyond what the CIA. had reported to policy-makers (in other words, the CIA deliberately misled its Senate overseers); that the CIA's claims for the effectiveness of torture to obtain information that was vital for national security were inaccurate and unfounded; that the torture regime had damaged the standing of the United States, and resulted in significant costs, monetary and otherwise; that personnel were rarely reprimanded or held accountable for violations, inappropriate activities, and systematic and individual management failures. Read more

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Defending Gillian Triggs

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 18 February 2015
    22 Comments

    A group of 50 academics has pointed out that 'Independent public office holders are an important part of modern democratic societies.' The Australian Bar Association and the Law Council of Australia have similarly argued that the personal attacks on Triggs amounted to an undermining of justice and the protection of human rights. It is a point the Abbott Government neglects to its peril.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    High Court fails high seas detainees

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 February 2015
    20 Comments

    The Abbott Government had a thumping big win in the High Court on Tuesday. All seven High Court judges have made it clear that there is next to nothing that can be done in the courts to question the government's approach. It is lawful, acceptable to government, and hardly a matter of concern to the Australian community, that 157 asylum seekers, including children, can be kept in windowless detention on an Australian vessel for a month on the high seas in the Indian Ocean.

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