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  • RELIGION

    New year epiphany in a burning world

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 15 January 2020
    7 Comments

    This New Year saw me becoming a Twitter tragic so that I could keep up with the news of disastrous fires in Australia, and fires of a different sort in the Middle East. It all seemed too much. On the day after Epiphany, a major feast day in the Orthodox Church, I found myself outside Kalamata's Church of the Archangels, and went in to light a candle.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fire poems

    • Bill Rush, Rory Harris, Collen Keating
    • 13 January 2020
    2 Comments

    It's as though it's suddenly turned winter, the way the earth is covered over and the grey stretch of ash is drawn up to its chin like a blanket. And though it's day, the bird-less quiet is a kind of night, and everything we ever thought we knew has been turned upside down, the first now last, and the last first.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Perfidy and terror in the slaying of Soleimani

    • Justin Glyn
    • 08 January 2020
    11 Comments

    Trump had asked the Iraqis to mediate with the Iranians and Soleimani, one of Iran's most respected generals and emissaries, was there for the purpose. If this is true, and no-one from the US side has denied it, this was that most ancient of perfidies — a murder under a flag of parley.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    This delicious failure of common names

    • Paul Hetherington
    • 09 December 2019
    2 Comments

    You don't know the word for butter, so you spend seconds miming the way it froths in the pan. The owner of the shop says nothing. You want to buy their famous pesto, but it's nowhere on display. You speak to other customers, who nod and frown. Eventually you point at fragrant cheese and a melon that smells of ripest green.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Shaking faith: the Taylor and Westpac scandals

    • Joe Zabar
    • 04 December 2019
    4 Comments

    In light of the banking royal commission and the government's work in developing a plethora of transparency and integrity measures, it beggars belief how Brian Hartzer and Angus Taylor could bring upon themselves and their respective institutions so much unwanted publicity.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Secret trials in the Australian 'police state'

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 26 November 2019
    15 Comments

    It sounds like a police state effort. An author makes an attempt to assist a pseudonymously named prisoner publish a memoir. The effort is scotched by the authorities. The police spring into action raiding the cell of that prisoner, and that of his brother. All take place without the knowledge of the Australia media or public.

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  • ECONOMICS

    It's the end of 'industry as usual', so what next?

    • David James
    • 22 November 2019
    5 Comments

    At the next global financial crisis, when questions about what we want our monetary system to do for us become a matter of survival, why not devise a transactional system that is not just geared towards the consumption of goods and services, but involves monetary exchanges for social goods, such as sustainable production, or civic benefit?

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    The power of gift-giving without the waste

    • Cristy Clark
    • 21 November 2019
    4 Comments

    As we pare back more and more, I have started to realise that there is a risk in taking things too far. The consumer orgy of the past may have been unsightly, but gift giving itself also serves a valuable social function, and we may be at risk of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    A view from Africa of Australia burning

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 14 November 2019
    10 Comments

    As fires obliterated large swathes of Australia, I was largely oblivious to the news — though tenuously connected to events as I travelled through oven-hot, tinder-dry national parks in Southern Africa. It was only when I reached the airport in Johannesburg that the extent of the catastrophe became apparent to me.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Climate clues beyond the four seasons myth

    • Katherine Wilson
    • 08 November 2019
    9 Comments

    Any Australian who believes in four seasons is engaged in a form of climate denial. Spring, summer, autumn and winter are colonial constructs, not an objective truth. I recently visited a school which has the largest Indigenous student population in Melbourne. The kids made a mural depicting the eight seasons of greater Melbourne.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Stories about the Russia you thought you knew

    • Justin Glyn
    • 06 November 2019
    8 Comments

    A casual reader, picking up Tony Kevin's book without much background knowledge on the events which it covers, might assume that the work was alarmist conspiracy theory, so wildly is it at odds with the standard fare which one reads in the papers about Russia and contemporary politics in general. Frighteningly, it is not.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Hong Kong Church silent as the people sing

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 04 November 2019
    12 Comments

    That the Catholic Church in Hong Kong has not only chosen to remain silent, but also enforce this silence through the banning of a song, is itself a political act. Considerations as to whether this silence is a consequence of the Vatican's recent agreement with the PRC about the appointment of bishops within China do seem to have merit.

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