Monday, May 30, 2016

Islamic conversion and custody conundrum in Malaysia - AJE News

Islamic conversion and custody conundrum in Malaysia - AJE News: "Divorce is often fraught, but the breakdown of the kindergarten teacher's marriage was further complicated by her husband's decision to become a Muslim, converting their three children, including Prasana, without telling his wife.

He went to the Islamic court - Malaysia has a dual legal system - not only to seek a divorce, but also to secure custody of the children - even though Indira, as a Hindu, had no right to appear there.

Indira has challenged the unilateral conversion of her children through the civil courts. A series of decisions have gone in her favour, with judges granting her full custody of the children in 2010 and an annulment of their conversion in 2013."



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Europe announces that all scientific papers should be free by 2020 - ScienceAlert

Europe announces that all scientific papers should be free by 2020 - ScienceAlert: "This week was a revolutionary week in the sciences - not because we discovered a new fundamental particle or had a new breakthrough in quantum computing - but because some of the most prominent world leaders announced an initiative which asserts that European scientific papers should be made freely available to all by 2020.

This would legally only impact research supported by public and public-private funds, which are a vast portion of the papers produced annually; however, the goal is to make all science freely available.

Ultimately, the commitment rests on three main tenets: "Sharing knowledge freely", "open access", and "reusing research data"."



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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Confronting the Parasite Economy

Confronting the Parasite Economy: "Of course, some will argue that the question is moot—that the labor market efficiently determines wages, not well-meaning CEOs or self-serving policymakers (or meddling know-it-alls like me), and that if a Sam’s Club cashier is worth $15 an hour, then that is what the labor market would force Sam’s Club to pay. “Supply and demand,” and all that.

That is nonsense. Take it from someone who has created dozens of businesses—people don’t get paid what they are “worth.” They get paid what they negotiate. We can all point to examples of CEOs who negotiated far more than they are worth, but there are many, many more people in our country who are worth far more than they negotiated.

That’s because more than any other market, the labor market is distorted by a profound imbalance of power between buyers and sellers; in fact, other than the small share of workers who have a collective-bargaining agreement, the vast majority of workers enjoy little bargaining power at all. Most workers have limited resources and immediate needs—to eat, to pay rent, to provide for their children—while most employers could leave any particular position unfilled indefinitely without suffering any personal hardship at all. As Adam Smith noted in The Wealth of Nations: “In the long run the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.”"



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Friday, May 13, 2016

Don't blur the lines between development and humanitarian work | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian

Don't blur the lines between development and humanitarian work | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian: "To most ears, I imagine that sounds pretty good. Inspirational, even; as thoughtful and as grand a dream as one can have. To my humanitarian ears, well, I hear alarm bells going off. And so did MSF.

The WHS misjudges the extent to which the distinctions between ‘humanitarian’ and ‘development’ form the lifeblood of the humanitarian endeavour. Making the SDGs the common overall results and accountability framework amounts to making over the ultimate goal of humanitarian action. Would you want ambulance teams to aim at strengthening the hospital system or improving nutrition? No. Should humanitarians be held accountable for ending hunger? No. They should be held accountable for feeding people who are starving."



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Brazil's Temer calls for unity, confidence for Brazil recovery | Reuters

Brazil's Temer calls for unity, confidence for Brazil recovery | Reuters: "Brazil's crisis brought a dramatic end to the 13-year rule of the Workers Party, which rode a wave of populist sentiment that swept South America starting around 2000 and enabled a generation of leftist leaders to leverage a boom in the region's commodity exports to pursue ambitious and transformative social policies.

But like other leftist leaders across the region, Rousseff discovered that the party, after four consecutive terms, overstayed its welcome, especially as commodities prices plummeted and her increasingly unpopular government failed to sustain economic growth."



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In Sierra Leone, short reconciliation ceremonies restore social ties | EurekAlert! Science News

In Sierra Leone, short reconciliation ceremonies restore social ties | EurekAlert! Science News: "Short, low-cost interventions can help communities to recover from a civil war, a new study evaluating the efficacy of a postwar reconciliation strategy in Sierra Leone shows. However, while the strategy created positive effects, it also had negative ones, suggesting policymakers need to restructure such processes. In a Perspective related to this study, Katherine Casey and Rachel Glennerster highlight the frequency of civil wars globally. "How can individuals and groups recover from such violent conflicts?" they ask. Efforts aimed at recovery are particularly daunting in developing nations, where resources are limited. While community-driven reconstruction efforts have shown some promise (namely related to improving infrastructure in such communities), they've been costly, and they've done little to promote trust among individuals. Meanwhile, truth and reconciliation process (whereby victims can air war-time grievances) continue to be promoted as methods for restoring social ties in war-torn communities, but researchers have little knowledge of whether and how such strategies - particularly those that induce person-to-person forgiveness - help societies heal"



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Obama administration to instruct schools to accommodate transgender students - The Washington Post

Obama administration to instruct schools to accommodate transgender students - The Washington Post: "The directive comes from two top administration officials: Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant secretary of education for civil rights, and Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. It will put state and local officials and higher-education institutions on notice that they risk losing federal education aid if they limit students to areas or teams based on their gender assigned at birth."



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