Tuesday, August 14, 2018

‘Resignation syndrome’ plagues refugee kids

Refugee and asylum seeker children held in immigration detention are increasingly suffering from a rare syndrome associated with lengthy confinement. Speaking to BuzzFeed Australia, an unnamed health professional recently on Nauru said children with the condition “take to their beds and they stop eating, stop drinking, stop toileting themselves, stop talking … it’s like when you visit a hospice and you watch people who are dying in a hospice”. Child psychologist Louise Newman said resignation syndrome ‒ a condition diagnosed in hundreds of refugee children slated for deportation in Sweden in 2017 ‒ was “a form of escape or dissociation; they go into a state where they look semiconscious”. At least nine legal challenges brought against the federal government by human rights groups this year have resulted in judges ordering immigration authorities to fly seriously ill detention centre detainees to Australia for treatment,

Melbourne mayors have called for political and media restraint when discussing South Sudanese Australian communities. Meeting in Brunswick on Monday, mayors representing eight Melbourne councils and community leader Maker Mayek urged politicians and media outlets to move away from the “African gangs” rhetoric that has dominated coverage of crime and unrest involving people of South Sudanese descent. “We are here to show our politicians that communities are standing together united against the media frenzy of sensationalist reporting that is hurting African-Australian people and their communities,” Mayek said.

Greenpeace has warned the federal government to ban sales of the weedkiller Roundup after a United States court ruled it contributed to a man’s terminal cancer. Dewayne Johnson, 46, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 after using the herbicide for years in his work as a school groundskeeper. Awarded US$289 million in damages on Saturday, Johnson said he hoped his suit against agricultural chemical and biotech giant Monsanto would set a legal precedent for thousands of other people who believe Roundup caused their cancer. Monsanto has consistently denied a link between glyphosate ‒ the active ingredient in Roundup ‒ and cancer, despite the World Health Organisation classifying glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans” in 2015. Monsanto will lodge an appeal.

And a national survey has found one in seven university students regularly go without food due to financial pressures. Released on Monday, the Universities Australia Student Finances Survey 2017 found that “financial hardship faced by some groups of students – particularly for some Indigenous students and some from the poorest one-fifth of Australian households – is particularly stark”. Half the students surveyed said paid work affected their university performance, while one in three regularly missed classes to go to work. Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson told Fairfax “students studying full-time are only living on $18,000 a year – that’s well below the poverty line”.

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The nastiest feud in science

“While the majority of her peers embraced the Chicxulub asteroid as the cause of the dinosaurs’ extinction, Keller remained a maligned and, until recently, lonely voice contesting it. She argues that the mass extinction was caused not by a wrong-place-wrong-time asteroid collision but by a series of colossal volcanic eruptions in a part of western India known as the Deccan Traps ... Keller’s resistance has put her at the core of one of the most rancorous and longest-running controversies in science.”the atlantic

‘My death is not my own’: the limits of legal euthanasia

“The euthanasia debate seems to have entered a faltering phase. A very un-Dutch thing has happened. We appear to be tongue-tied. The Netherlands – the country that, more than any other, wants to believe in every person’s right to voluntary death, the country that talks lightly about painless death as it were a money-back guarantee – is struggling with the dilemma surrounding dementia and death.”  the guardian

How the shared family computer protected us from our worst selves

“The idea of having only one shared device with internet access might as well be primordial. How did that work, exactly? Well, it wasn’t completely without its challenges. Mapping out uninterrupted computer time was maddeningly tricky, and privacy was basically nonexistent. You risked parental fury if a virus shut the computer down because of a visit to a risky site. Space on the hard drive was at a premium, and the computer chair was inevitably among the most uncomfortable seats in the house.” the verge



Where does the greyhound racing industry get the money for such a lavish event?

“New South Wales already has Australia’s richest thoroughbred race and now they’ve got the richest greyhound race too. While not quite as lofty as the $13 million Everest, the Million Dollar Chase is a new event which will culminate with a $1.2 million final that offers $1 million to the winner. It will replace the Melbourne Cup ($630,000) as the nation’s most lucrative greyhound event. It will also be the richest greyhound race in the world.”  punters (from july)


Killing dogs that don’t win saves you a lot of cash, apparently.

“Documents obtained by the NSW Greens via Freedom of Information law and shared with BuzzFeed News show nearly 400 racing greyhounds were euthanised from April 2017 to May 2018 ... A former veterinarian who worked on greyhound racing tracks in New South Wales told BuzzFeed News these injuries are usually treatable, but that treatment is often expensive. ‘All these euthanasias are economic decisions,’ said the vet, who did not want to be named.”  buzzfeed australia


and finally:

All 169 Seinfeld episodes, from worst to best

“In the interest of both helping novices prioritise and reminding veterans about forgotten jewels, we’ve ranked every episode in the series from worst to best. The ratings are based less on cultural significance – you’ll find many recognisable episodes fairly low on the list – and more on the density and quality of jokes, the inclusion of multiple strong narrative arcs, and, to a lesser extent, how well the comedy and stories have aged.”  vulture