Australian politics, society & culture

The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

5th of May 2016

Canadian blaze forces evacuation, keeps firefighters at distance “Walls of flame driven by strong, shifting winds raged out of control on Wednesday in and around the evacuated city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, where firefighters were helpless to stop the destruction and where about 88,000 people had fled their homes. The entire population of Fort McMurray, the main center for Canada’s oil sands region, was ordered to evacuate on Tuesday evening once the fire, which began in woodlands outside the city, had overwhelmed firefighters’ efforts to hold it at bay. Cars and trucks jammed the only route out of the city, Highway 63, which runs north to the oil-sands work camps and south to Edmonton, the nearest sizable city, 400 km away.” (Also: This is climate change)

The New York Times

4th of May 2016

Ted Cruz suspends presidential campaign, ends hope of stopping Trump “On Tuesday, Mr. Cruz ended his campaign, his loss in Indiana extinguishing any chance of denying Mr. Trump the nomination. ‘Together we left it all on the field in Indiana,’ he told supporters here as cries of ‘Nooo!’ rained from the crowd. ‘We gave it everything we’ve got. But the voters chose another path.’ … Mr. Trump has proved immune to political gravity. He has been largely impervious to attacks, once Mr. Cruz backed away from his monthslong embrace and began hammering him.”

The New York Times

3rd of May 2016

Somali refugee in critical condition after setting herself alight on Nauru “The young Somali woman who set herself alight on Nauru – the second refugee in a week to do so – has been taken to Australia by air ambulance, but her situation remains critical. Hodan, 21, doused herself and set herself alight inside the OPC1 section of the detention centre on Nauru. According to reports, she suffered severe burns to most of her body. One person reported ‘all of her clothes were burned off’. Another source said: ‘One of the witnesses who saw her said the situation is much worse than Omid,’ a reference to 23-year-old Omid Masoumali, who died last week after self-immolating on Nauru.” (Also: Asylum seekers ‘encouraged’ to self-harm by advocates, says immigration minister and The worsening conditions in the onshore detention centres)

The Guardian

2nd of May 2016

Human extinction isn’t that unlikely “The Stern Review, the UK government’s premier report on the economics of climate change, estimated a 0.1% risk of human extinction every year. That may sound low, but it adds up. The Global Challenges Foundation estimates a 9.5% chance of human extinction within the next hundred years. And that number underestimates the risk of dying in any global cataclysm. The Stern Review only calculated the danger of species-wide extinction … What kind of human-level extinction events are these? The report holds catastrophic climate change and nuclear war far above the rest.”

The Atlantic

29th of April 2016

Writer Jenny Diski dies aged 68 “When Diski first learned she had cancer, her initial reaction was one of embarrassment, as the usual responses felt heavily clichéd and scripted … Born in London in 1947, Diski lived with British writer Doris Lessing for four years and went on to remain friends with her for a total of fifty. Leaving school without taking her A-levels, Diski spent many of her formative years as a patient in various psychiatric hospitals. She later trained as a teacher, working in a Hackney comprehensive and setting up a free school, before going on to embark on a fruitful career in writing.” (Also: “Under no circumstances is anyone to say that I lost a battle with cancer. Or that I bore it bravely” and 9 stories by and about Jenny Diski)

The Independent

28th of April 2016

Manus Island camp to be closed, refugees likely to be relocated to Christmas Island and Nauru “Christmas Island and Nauru are firming as the likely destinations for the detainees on Manus Island, with the closure of the detention centre imminent, according to Papua New Guinea officials. Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said on Thursday morning there was room on Nauru to take additional detainees. ‘There is capacity [on Nauru] but we’re talking with the PNG government about what options are available in PNG and we’ll continue those discussions with them.’ In the wake of the PNG supreme court decision ordering the centre closed, Dutton has been specific in his language, saying that none of the men from Manus would ever be ‘permanently settled’ in Australia.” (Also: Refugee at Nauru centre sets himself on fire)

The Guardian

27th of April 2016

Cancer: The final frontier “Condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of cancer’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. If it were 50 years old, human beings would know very little about its first 49 years, except that it killed men and women with the ease of a scythe slicing through wheat. About a year ago, mankind finally began to fight back, using the crude tool of surgery as a caveman would use a cudgel. Two months ago, humanity finally began to understand the nature of cancer and began to use radiation therapy. This week, humanity declared war on cancer. Yesterday, the modern cancer-fighting apparatus developed, spanning hospitals and academic research centers with cutting-edge research, imaging, and treatments. But now, as the clock strikes midnight, for the most part cancer is still the menace that it was, beyond the reach of humankind and mostly beyond the range of a cure.”

The Atlantic

26th of April 2016

A car salesman vs ISIS “Toby Lopez heard on CNN one day in the fall of 2014 that the Islamic State was active on Twitter, and he went online to see what he could find. ‘I was intrigued,’ said Mr. Lopez, 42. ‘What could they possibly be saying on Twitter?’ What followed was a radical break from his humdrum life. He was pulled into the murky world of Internet jihadists, sparring with them from his office at the car dealership and late into the night at home. Before long, he was talking for hours on Skype with a man who claimed — falsely, as it would turn out — to be a top ISIS military commander, trying to negotiate the release of hostages. Mr. Lopez contacted the F.B.I. and began a testy relationship with counterterrorism agents who came to believe he might pose a danger. In the end, he landed in federal prison, where he was held for nearly 14 months without trial.”

The New York Times

22nd of April 2016

Prince, singer and songwriter, dies aged 57 at Paisley Park “The hugely popular, acclaimed and influential musician Prince has died at his home in Minnesota at the age of 57. Police were summoned to his Paisley Park estate early on Thursday and found his body in a lift. An investigation has been opened.” (Also: Prince’s style through the years and What it was like going to school with Prince and Prince at Sydney Opera House and Hilton Als on Prince and A brief history of Prince’s contractual controversies and Four performances and The best weird stories about Prince)


21st of April 2016

Hundreds feared dead in migrant shipwreck off Libya “Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned in the southern Mediterranean last week, in what would be the deadliest migrant shipwreck in months. A repurposed fishing boat overloaded by smugglers with up to 500 Africans hoping to reach Italy from eastern Libya sunk as passengers from smaller boats were trying to board it, survivors told the International Organisation for Migration. The survivors’ accounts described panicked passengers desperately trying to stay afloat by jumping between vessels. A death toll of just half the size would bring the total number of mortalities in the Mediterranean in 2016 to over 1,000 – more than a quarter of last year’s record tally.”

The Guardian