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King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has passed away at age 90. EPA/Ahmad Yusni

Death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah: a succession story

The passing of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia will change little in the kingdom and its relations with the West. The monarch had been ailing and reclusive for some years and his anointed successor (and…
Should coal projects be held responsible for the greenhouse emissions that flow from their product, even if it’s burned on another continent? CSIRO/Wikimedia Commons

Court challenge will test coal mining’s climate culpability

A new legal challenge to the proposed Carmichael coal mine – Australia’s largest – will test in the federal court whether climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions should be taken into account…

Libya Fades to Black

Just over a week ago Turkish Airlines announced that it was no longer flying to the Libyan town of Misrata, a provincial centre about two hundred kilometres east of Tripoli. Whilst it is unlikely that…
Australia will be looking to avenge its extra-time defeat against Japan in the 2011 Asian Cup final as it hosts the 2015 tournament. EPA

As the Asian Cup kicks off, can Australia win on home soil?

When Australia kicks off the opening match of football’s Asian Cup on Friday night against Kuwait at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium (usually known as AAMI Park), it will begin its third campaign to…
Many hands have helped author The Conversation’s first collaborative writing experiment.

An experiment in collaborative writing: day ten

We’re starting 2015 with an experiment in collaborative creative writing. What happens when you ask ten academics to write a story together? Taking our cue from the Exquisite Cadaver game played by Surrealist…
Open wide: don’t be fooled by the appearance of a Leatherback’s mouth, they eat only jellyfish. Tom Doyle

This summer at the beach, watch out for the world’s biggest turtle

Going to the beach this summer? If you’re in southern Australia, keep your eyes peeled for the world’s largest turtle, the leatherback. If you do, you can report sightings to researchers at Deakin University…
Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann say the government’s mid year outlook sets the path to budget recovery. AAP/Lukas Coch

Federal budget deficit climbs to $40.4bn: experts react

The federal budget deficit will blow out to A$40.4 billion in 2014-15, up from the $29.8 billion forecast in May’s budget, according to the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) released today…
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is released around the world this month. Never mind the top tens, this film will skew the box office stats for 2014 and 2015. Image: John Bell as Bain and Luke Evans as Bard. Photo: Mark Pokorny. Warner Bros

Bad Hobbits Die Hard: how to make a better Top 10 movie list

Tis the season to make Top 10 lists. Why? Because we are hurtling with unavoidable haste toward the end of another calendar year. It’s almost impossible to get through the day without some kind of Top…
Christopher Pyne argues that the government is on the side of history in reforming higher education, but it is a bad history that he evokes. AAP/Lukas Coch

The big reforms that prevail fuse the best of left and right

After the defeat of the Abbott government’s higher education bills in the Senate, Education Minister Christopher Pyne invoked the legacy of past “reforms” that had been violently contested at the time…
Books do not necessarily bring us all together, tell ‘our’ story, unite us. AAP/Joe Castro

PM’s Literary Awards: how reading opens us to a world of pain

On Monday night, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards were announced with a tie in the fiction category between A World of Other People by Steven Carroll and the Booker Prize and Queensland Literary Award…
The Productivity Commission rightly identified widespread concerns that Australia’s civil justice system is too slow, too expensive and too adversarial. shutterstock

Extra funding for legal assistance services should only be a start

The Productivity Commission raised a few eyebrows when it called for an additional A$200 million for legal assistance services to disadvantaged Australians, who are “more susceptible to, and less equipped…
Kids don’t always play with toys according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Charles Roark/Flick

Leave Barbie alone – so we can talk about how kids actually play

On Tuesday Greens Spokesperson for women, Larissa Waters, lent her support to No Gender December – a campaign spearheaded by the group Play Unlimited that aims to highlight the gendered marketing of toys…
The No Gender December campaign suggests that the gender stereotyping of toys restricts children’s creativity and development. Tracheotomy Bob

Barbie for boys? The gendered tyranny of the toy store

“I didn’t encourage my daughter to play with Barbie dolls and dress up in flouncy fairy costumes, but she just gravitated toward them.” When confronted with the idea that gendered marketing and stereotypes…
Critics write the obituaries for Australian films the weekend they’re released. Is there a better way to understand the industry? AAP Image/Cameron Oliver

Zombie metrics: why Australian cinema just won’t stay dead

By all reports the Australian cinema is dead. Left for dust by the noisy distractions of big budget movie franchises and the smaller diversions of teeny shiny devices. All you can see in any direction…
Pushing money remitters out of the market is only likely to increase the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing. Shutterstock

Lack of real action on remittances increases terrorist financing risk

Globally migrant communities will send nearly US$435 billion to family members in home countries this year. These remittances are vital and sustain not only the livelihoods of the recipients, but also…

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