Friday, 17 January 2014

Sarajevo revisited and other news and views for 17 January

From this morning’s Australian papers.
  • Demand for degrees ‘at natural limit’ – “After four years of rampant growth, demand for university places is on the wane, offering relief to Abbott government budget estimates but putting at risk key participation targets. All states will have made their main round of university offers by this afternoon. While most show a small increase in offers to school-leavers, declines of more than 10 per cent to non-school-leavers have been recorded on the back of falling applications. This group traditionally accounts for about half of all university entrants. Nationally, applications from Year 12 students are up 1.6 per cent while demand from non-Year 12 applicants has fallen 5.5 per cent.” – The Australian
  • Abbott-Bishop split looming over showdown for Liberal Party presidency – The Australian
  • Meddling with act fraught with peril - “What is now a distressing hypocrisy surrounding the campaign to reform or even do away with section 18C of the act is that its advocates are generally the same people cheering on the use of the act as the basis of proceedings in the Federal Court against University of Sydney academic Jake Lynch… So, on the one hand the act is evil for affecting the free speech in the narrow provisions that deal with offending and insulting ethnic and racial minorities, but is heroic when its broad provisions are engaged as a basis of proceedings against lefty academics in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.” - Sydney Morning Herald
And one from a website.
Some links to other things I’ve found interesting today.
17-01-2014 sarajevo
  • The Bosnian Knot – Conflicts Unchanged in Birthplace of WWI – “The 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo came in the midst of a bitter power struggle among major European powers in the Balkans. One hundred years and three devastating wars later, peace still eludes the multi-ethnic region.”
  • The Drug Industry’s Poison Pills – “One does not need to spend a lifetime in the global health-care sector to appreciate that substandard or counterfeit drugs are a major public-health hazard. These bogus products have infiltrated pharmaceutical supply chains from Azerbaijan to Zambia, wrecking the most promising programs to control, manage, and eradicate deadly diseases. Yet little is being done to stop this criminal activity.”
  • Obama’s NSA Speech: Just What Eisenhower Warned About? – “On Jan. 17, 1961, President Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn Americans that: ‘We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.’ As Slate has said, ‘with the possible exception of George Washington’s departing speech,’ Eisenhower’s speech may be ‘the best-known presidential farewell address in U.S. history.’ (An argument could be made, of course, for President Nixon’s good-bye as well.) Tomorrow — Jan. 17, 2014 — President Obama will announce the changes he does and does not want to see in the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.”
  • Democracy’s pains – “Disillusionment with political leaders is spreading across the globe… So what’s going on? Two factors seem to be at work, one healthy, one unhealthy. First, citizens seem to be increasingly unwilling to put up with the antics of unaccountable political elites, often all too willing to pursue policies that their voters do not approve of… The second sort is quite different, however. In several countries, vocal and well-organized minorities are proving unwilling to accept elected governments that have brought to power previously disempowered groups.”
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