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  • INTERNATIONAL

    There's life in Ecuador's 21st century socialism

    • Antonio Castillo
    • 02 March 2017
    5 Comments

    Ecuadoreans will head back to the polls on 2 April after this month's presidential election didn't come up with an outright winner. Against all projections Socialist Lenin Moreno, who served as Rafael Correa's vice president from 2007 to 2013, did very well. While he fell short of winning, there is a sense that the Ecuadorean 21st century socialism, an economic and political model instigated by Correa, is still popular; and in this Andean country of 15 million the majority are poor.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    To feel this world

    • Allan Padgett
    • 01 March 2017

    Notes that humans cannot hear include the sound of thylacines crying in a van diemen forest, a dodo's plaintive shuffle on a nearshore kiwi island, a mammoth's woolly orgasm on an ecstatic arctic tundra, an esperance dog weed's silent transpiration, the rumbles of a gastric brooding frog giving birth by burping - these things are far too late for caring. Things we need to see and taste include the surging milk of human kindness, the euphoric rainbow of random caring - these would make a nice day nicer.

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  • RELIGION

    What the sharia is all the fuss about?

    • Rachel Woodlock
    • 24 February 2017
    29 Comments

    Once upon a time, a proud dad in Dandenong could name his son Jihad, with its ancient meaning of 'striving' in the path of God. Now he might choose a different name to avoid future discrimination. 'Shari'a' has come to mean the forced imposition of medieval punishments on cowering populations, while 'halal' is the torture of sheep and cows. These words have been stolen from ordinary Muslims, the vast majority of the world's second largest religion. I blame three groups for this.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Trump's 1984 is Turnbull's Animal Farm

    • Brian Matthews
    • 20 February 2017
    14 Comments

    In these duplicitous times it's not surprising to find Nineteen Eighty-Four cited. In Airstrip One, WAR IS PEACE; FREEDOM IS SLAVERY; IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH - a Nineteen Eighty-Four equivalent of a Tweet with plenty of character space left to add insults. And all facts are alternative, as in the news, 'Oceania is at War with Eurasia', which becomes before your very eyes, 'Oceania has never been at war with Eurasia.' For events closer to home, Orwell's Animal Farm is disturbingly apposite.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Catholic voices against runaway capitalism

    • Michael Walker
    • 20 February 2017
    20 Comments

    The presidency of Donald Trump should bring a renewed focus on the dangers of unbridled capitalism. The Catholic Church has a rich trove of teachings on the subject that have been missing in action for the past 30 years. Now is the time for a well-articulated Christian message addressing such issues as widening wealth inequality fuelled by stagnant wage growth, the privatisation of public services, the financialisation of the economy (which fuels both of those trends), and tax justice.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Artists paint the truth of SA nuclear la la land

    • Michele Madigan
    • 13 February 2017
    9 Comments

    'It will be your artists: the poets, painters, actors, dancers, musicians, orators - they will be the ones to lead the changes.' It was one of the many international invited guests, a Maori woman speaker, who made this prediction to the huge 40,000 strong crowd that marched to Hyde Park, Sydney, on 26 January 1988. In South Australia almost 30 years later, this prophecy continues to unfold in the high-stakes battle for country that surrounds the proposed nuclear waste dump.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    St Patrick's Ballarat

    • Tony London
    • 13 February 2017
    6 Comments

    The chimneys of various shapes and sizes on the priest's houses next door, have not spumed since the winter, and in and around St Patrick's things like that might seem symbolic. Will fires ever be lit there again - lest the people speak - the ribbons spliced up and down the wrought iron railings, rattle in the brisk autumn breeze, telling stories of love, suffering and endless disharmony, broken trust, send messages to those in the passing traffic  ... better the devil you don't know ...

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  • RELIGION

    Looking for light amid Royal Commission's Catholic wrap-up

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 February 2017
    17 Comments

    Listening to the media and our church leaders in recent days, we know that there is plenty of darkness ahead for our Church in the weeks ahead with the Royal Commission's so-called 'Catholic wrap-up'. We're told that the statistics will be terrible and we expect that some of our church leaders will appear, looking stunned and helpless. This morning, I think we need to reflect on these stark realities in the light of the scriptures. And this can be done only by holding the victims clearly in focus.

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