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Residents near the burnt-out Grenfell Tower display a sign that expresses their anger at being marginalised and ignored. Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Grenfell Tower fire exposes the injustice of disasters

Marginal people become resourceless, invisible to public policies, and disempowered in public life. This increases their vulnerability to disaster.
The public and finance sectors – but not the government, it seems – are questioning the wisdom of investing in infrastructure for projects like the Adani coal mine. Lukas Coch/AAP

To get the ‘good debt’ tick, infrastructure needs to be fit for the future

If infrastructure is to meet the needs and challenges of an uncertain future, we need to move beyond the AAA ratings mindset and aim for net-positive social and ecological outcomes as well.
Illustration of ritualised human sacrifice in traditional Hawaiian culture, as documented by the French explorer and artists Jaques Arago in 1819. Arago, Jacques. (1822). Promenade autour du monde: pendant les années 1817, 1818, 1819 et 1820, sur les corvettes du roi l’Uranie et la Physicienne, commandées par M. Freycinet

Why did early human societies practice violent human sacrifice?

Human sacrifice seems horrifying and costly. But there might be a reason so many early human societies practiced it.
Kim Kardashian neglected to mention a morning sickness drug’s side effects when she promoted it, which violated US regulations. AAP/Peter Foley

Drug ads only help Big Pharma’s bottom line, so why are they allowed?

Pharmaceutical companies can use prescription medication ads to mislead an unwitting public for the sake of profits. While Australia prohibits such ads, the laws don't go far enough.
The US’s refusal to track civilian casualties in the conflict against Islamic State represents a radical departure from established military protocol. EPA/Sedat Suna

The politics of (not) counting: why war on terror’s civilian toll matters

Lieutenant-General James L. Terry, commander of US forces in Iraq and Syria, recently admitted he had no idea how many civilians have died as a result of coalition airstrikes in the region. In a briefing…
Will the India meeting be as successful as the one in DC? Larry Downing/Reuters

US and India mark historic day with Obama visit

President Barack Obama will be the first US president to visit India on Republic Day on January 26, as well as the first sitting US president to visit India twice. During his three day symbolic visit President…
Each of the 888,246 ceramic poppies in the Tower of London’s moat represent a British or Commonwealth first-world-war casualty. EPA/Andy Rain

Body counts disguise the true horror of what wars do to bodies

Every year on Remembrance Day, we pause to look back on old wars and recount the tallies of the dead, including 16 million killed in the first world war and 60 million in the second world war. And every…

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