Thursday, 11 September 2014

What constitutes a “real” refugee? and other news and views for Thursday 11 September

  • What constitutes a “real” refugee? – Katy Long, Lecturer in International Development at University of Edinburgh and an editor of The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, writes: “We are increasingly skilled in crafting complacent fictions intended not so much to demonise refugees as exculpate our own consciences. In Australia, for instance, ever-more restrictive asylum policies – which have seen all those arriving by boat transferred off-shore and, even when granted refugee status, refused the right to settle in Australia – have been presented by supporters as merely intended to prevent the nefarious practice of “queue-jumping”. In this universe, the border patrols become the guardians ensuring “fair” asylum hearings, while asylum-seekers are condemned for cheating the system.”
  • The American fear-mongering machine is about to scare us back into war again – “Did you know that the US government’s counterterrorism chief Matthew Olson said last week that there’s no ‘there’s no credible information’ that the Islamic State (Isis) is planning an attack on America and that there’s ”no indication at this point of a cell of foreign fighters operating in the United States’? Or that, as the Associated Press reported, ‘The FBI and Homeland Security Department say there are no specific or credible terror threats to the US homeland from the Islamic State militant group’?”
  • All eyes on Rupert Murdoch over the Sun’s Scottish independence stance
  • Sports concussion ‘breathalyser’ proposed – “Among the new proposals is a breath test, which successfully detects key chemicals in early laboratory trials. Produced by the damaged brain, these chemicals are known to indicate a brain injury when found in the bloodstream.”
  • How Do Citizens React When Politicians Support Policies They Oppose? Field Experiments with Elite Communication – “Politicians have been depicted as, alternatively, strongly constrained by public opinion, able to shape public opinion if they persuasively appeal to citizens’ values, or relatively unconstrained by public opinion and able to shape it merely byannouncing their positions. We conduct unique field experiments in cooperation with legislators to explore how constituents react when
    legislators take positions they oppose. … These findings suggest politicians can enjoy broad latitude to shape public opinion.”
  • Climate change deniers raise the heat on the Bureau of Meteorology
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