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Children from a village in Papua New Guinea’s Western Highlands Province stand in one of countless sweet potato gardens destroyed by frost across the country, August 2015. Kud Sitango

As Papua New Guinea faces worsening drought, a past disaster could save lives

Papua New Guinea is now facing a drought and frosts that look set to be worse than 1997, when hundreds of people died. So how can memories of 1997 save lives over the next few months?
Dyson Heydon prided himself throughout his judicial career on the robust independence and intellectual integrity he brought to the role. AAP/Renee Nowytarger

Bias and the ‘black-letter’ judge: who is Dyson Heydon?

How has a former judge with an avowed commitment to judicial independence and probity found himself at the centre of a very public controversy over his own impartiality?
Australians are living and working longer, marrying later and earning more that past generations. Hamed Masoumi/Flickr

Australia’s changing profile: fewer divorces, higher incomes, more rental stress

Divorce rates are on the decline in Australia, people are marrying and having children later in life, and more of us live alone. Our experts respond to the new report on Australia's welfare.
Conventional wisdom says Barack Obama will hit political obstacles on the way to fulfilling his climate ambitions. But they might be easier to sidestep than you think, EPA/Michael Reynolds/AAP

Forget the hostile Congress – Obama can cut global climate deals on his own terms

Much has been made of the domestic political roadblocks between US President Barack Obama and climate action. But by using existing treaties he can get around the hostile Congress and help cut global emissions.
B.A. Santamaria (left) is the subject of a new biography by political commentator Gerard Henderson. Wikimedia Commons

Book review: Santamaria, A Most Unusual Man

Gerard Henderson has produced a rounded and at times fascinating portrait of B. A. Santamaria. His broad conclusion is that Santamaria was a compelling, skilled and persuasive man who was enormously devoted to his causes.
Robots in chains but are they really to blame when AI does something wrong? maxuser

Who’s to blame when artificial intelligence systems go wrong?

There is much debate on the ethics of artificial intelligence machines that are designed to kill. But who's responsible when a non-lethal AI system causes damage, harm or even death?
Danny Nalliah’s Rise Up Australia is one example of a far-right, ‘moralistic’ party that has sprung up in recent years. AAP/Joe Castro

Explainer: Australia’s tangled web of far-right political parties

Far-right movements and parties in Australia will continue to create interest, given their policies and method of operation. Their future longevity, however, is by no means assured.
Environment minister Greg Hunt and Prime Minister Tony Abbott announce Australia’s 2030 climate target. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Australia’s 2030 climate target puts us in the race, but at the back

Australia’s new emissions target is not “squarely in the middle of comparable economies". Towards the bottom of the pack of comparable countries, on key indicators. But Australia is coming to the party, and that counts for a lot.
Sea level rise is one of the biggest worries of climate change. This image is from the Witness King Tides project, which aims to visualise sea level rise using large tides and storm surges. Witness King Tides/Flickr

How to make sense of ‘alarming’ sea level forecasts

Sea level rise represents one of the most worrying aspects of global warming, potentially displacing millions of people along coasts, low river valleys, deltas and islands.
The Law Reform Commission has likely given George Brandis much more than he was expecting in the review of rights-limiting laws that he asked for. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Brandis receives long list of rights-limiting laws – now can he justify them?

The federal government has to be on the back foot after a Law Reform Commission report identified that It has been the champion of many rights-limiting laws.
The US EPA’s Clean Power Plan will cut power sector emissions 32% by 2030. EPA/Justin Lane/AAP

Obama’s new climate plan is leadership fuel for other nations

President Obama's new targets for emissions from electricity are a crucial step towards a credible US climate policy. And where the United States leads, others are more likely to follow.
The prime minister described Labor’s renewables pledge as “truly bizarre”. AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

FactCheck: Would Labor’s renewable energy plan cost consumers $60 billion?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this week that Labor's pledge to source half the nation's power from renewable energy by 2030 will "mean a massive bill, perhaps $60 billion or more, that will have to be carried by the consumers of Australia." Is that right?

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