May 29th 2010

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: A program for Australia's future

OPINION: Is Rudd's resources super profits tax constitutional?

EDITORIAL: Stop Rudd's super profits tax!

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor's 'destroy Abbott' strategy may backfire

FEDERAL BUDGET: No budget relief for single-breadwinner families

OPINION: The Henry tax review's better proposals

EARLY CHILDHOOD: Kinder kids quizzed on their sexuality

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: European debt crisis reveals globalisation's shortcomings

INDIA: India's 'Red Corridor' and the Naxalite threat

ISLAM: Feminists silent about women in burqas

GENDER AND IDENTITY: Radical ideologues deny innate gender differences

UNITED STATES: The politics of religion in America

Tony Abbott alienating Australian families (letter)

New York bomber 'disenchanted' (letter)

Canberra power-grab (letter)

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Absolutely terrified; Globalisation of higher education; Muslim woman becomes UK Conservative party chairman; British bobbies are being replaced


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Absolutely terrified; Globalisation of higher education; Muslim woman becomes UK Conservative party chairman; British bobbies are being replaced

News Weekly, May 29, 2010
Absolutely terrified

It took Faisal Shahzad trying to set a car bomb in Times Square to get President Obama, Attorney-General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to finally use the word "terrorism." (And not referring to Tea Party activists!)

This is a major policy shift for a president who spent a month telling Americans not to "jump to conclusions" after Army doctor Nidal Malik Hasan reportedly jumped on a desk, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" and began shooting up Fort Hood.

In a bit of macho posturing this week, Obama declared that - contrary to the terrorists' wishes - Americans "will not be terrorised, we will not cower in fear, we will not be intimidated".

First of all, having the Transportation Security Administration wanding infants, taking apple-sauce away from 93-year-old dementia patients, and forcing all Americans to produce their shoes, computers and containers with up to 3 ounces of liquid in Ziploc bags for special screening pretty much blows that "not intimidated" look Obama wants America to adopt.

"Intimidated"? How about "absolutely terrified"?

Extract from Ann Coulter, "Obama national security policy: hope their bombs don't work",, May 5, 2010.

Globalisation of higher education

The rhetoric of globalisation has become so ubiquitous in the business world that it is easy to forget how radically the same forces are transforming university education. According to OECD figures, the number of globally mobile students, many of them heavily recruited, has increased 57 per cent in the past decade alone. Half the world's top physicists no longer work in their home countries.

Cross-border science collaboration has more than doubled since 1990, as measured by the percentage of internationally co-authored articles. Western universities set up branches in the Middle East and Asia. Nations from South Korea to Saudi Arabia, which for decades have sent their best and brightest to study in the West, now vie to create world-class research universities of their own.

Left unimpeded, this campus globalisation will greatly speed the world-wide flow of human talent. Yet for all its promise, academic globalisation - like its equivalents in the worlds of finance and industry - has proven controversial.

There are long-standing worries in the developing world about a brain drain, and the converse concern in the West that talented foreigners will crowd out domestic students. Above all, there is a broader fear in the West that as universities elsewhere become stronger and more competitive, we will lose our edge. ...

No doubt the new global brain race will be intensely competitive. But competition is as healthy on campuses as it is everywhere else. More world-class universities and better-educated people in countries like China and India are good for the West, not bad. After all, increasing knowledge is not a zero-sum game. It is a public good that can be used by everyone. The free flow of people and ideas made possible by a global academic culture fosters inventive thinking and prosperity for East and West alike.

Extract from Ben Wildavsky, "No barriers to free trade in minds", The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2010.

Muslim woman becomes UK Conservative Party chairman

The UK just got its first female Muslim cabinet member, a divorced young baroness who represents the country's contradictions.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi embodies the sprawling contradictions of contemporary British politics: She is a young, divorced Muslim woman - and the co-chairman of the Conservative Party.

In Britain, Warsi's political ascendancy has been controversial. Some have seen her appointment as a feeble attempt by the Conservative Party to present a more multicultural front, and the outspoken baroness has agitated people across the political spectrum.

Warsi is also a contentious figure within the Muslim community in Britain. Muslim protesters have accused her of supporting the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan and have pelted her with eggs. ... She has spoken out against polygamy, forced marriages, and female genital mutilation.

Warsi's life is a remarkable rags-to-riches story: A working-class, British-born Pakistani from northern England, she was appointed as one of just four women in the new cabinet.

She has never held elected office; she lost her 2005 race for a parliamentary seat. But in July 2007 Cameron made her the youngest member of the House of Lords, paving the way for her eventual appointment as the first Muslim member of the cabinet.

Extract from Naseem Khan, "The Muslim woman shaking up Britain", The Daily Beast (US), May 17, 2010.

British bobbies are being quietly replaced

The quiet replacement of proper, sworn constables with feebler and less effective PCSOs - "Police Community Support Officers" ... is a real problem.

The sworn constable is not a civil servant. He is a directly appointed officer of the law, bound by oath to uphold and enforce the law without fear or favour - which for instance means he must refuse an illegal or unlawful order, and derives his powers from the local magistracy rather than from the central government.

The PCSO, whose powers are limited but will grow as time goes by, is a civil servant ultimately controlled by the state rather than the law (as are gendarmes in non-Common Law countries). This may seem a technical difference, but it is in fact essential to our liberty that the police are not an arm of government. In the English-speaking countries, we have the rule of law. In the civil code countries, they have the inferior rule of power.

Extract from Peter Hitchens, "Police and 'civilians'", Daily Mail (UK), May 17, 2010.

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