No monkeying around: animal’s rights. By Alasdair Cochrane
A United States appeals court is currently hearing the case of a chimpanzee named Tommy and is to decide if he has the right to bodily integrity and liberty, just like a person. The case, brought by the Nonhuman Rights Project, which is concerned about Tommy’s living conditions, is hugely significant. The questions debated in this New York court have implications beyond the question of whether former circus animal Tommy should be moved from the shed in which he is held captive to a chimp sanctuary with conditions more conducive to his well-being. What is really being considered is whether human rights can transcend the species divide.
Verbatim: Canada court blocks Zahra Kazemi suit against Iran. By Deborah Jones
A law suit against Iran by the son of journalist Zahra Kazemi, who died after an alleged beating, rape and torture in an Iranian prison, hit a wall Friday in Canada’s top court. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Kazemi’s son Stephan Hachemi could not sue Iran’s government and key officials for $17 million Canadian for his mother’s suffering and death, because they are protected under Canada’s State Immunity Act.
Lightning-strike diplomacy opens crack between the Koreas. By Jonathan Manthorpe (paywall)
In a remarkable demonstration that may presage the end of one of the world’s most deeply embedded conflicts, three of North Korea’s most senior leaders have made a surprise visit to the South. The excuse for the unprecedented trip across the heavily-armed border that has divided the peninsular since the Second World War was to attend the closing ceremony of the Asian Games, held at the city of Incheon west of the South’s capital Seoul. But the three also met senior South Korean officials and agreed that talks should be held to improve relations between the two sides of the divided nation.
French author Patrick Modiano won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature, the Nobel organization announced, “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”
Who is Patrick Modiano, and why don’t most of us know him? by Alan Morris
To the English-speaking world, the awarding of the 2014 Nobel Prize for literature to Patrick Modiano will probably have come as a surprise. He is renowned in his native France for keeping a very low profile, only venturing into the public spotlight momentarily with the appearance of each new novel. But few of his novels have been translated into English – probably because the incredibly distinctive ingredients of his universe do not travel particularly well.
Deadly Force in Black and White America. By Ryan Gabrielson, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Eric Sagara, ProPublica
An analysis of statistics supports what has been an article of faith in the United States’ African American community for decades: Blacks are being killed at disturbing rates when set against the rest of the American population. Young American black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings.
Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll: Chuck Berry Time capsule journalism by Brian Brennan (paywall)
Chuck Berry was cranky. He hadn’t seen a contract for his scheduled nightclub appearance, and he wasn’t about to step out of the airport limo that had brought him to the club. The club had sold tickets for two dinner shows, but Berry wasn’t going to do even one show until he saw that contract. The club manager was in a panic. He had two sold-out shows on his hands and the possibility of refunds loomed.
A joint report by two United Nations organizations focus on recent Islamic State (also known as IS, ISIS, and ISIL) ethnic-cleansing atrocities in Iraq. The report, by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, covers the period from July 6 to September 10. It lists what a UN release describes as “a litany of serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross abuses of human rights that have been perpetrated by ISIL and associated armed groups,with an apparent systematic and widespread character.”
Stealth campaigns in the net neutrality battleground. By Robert Faturechi, ProPublica
Telecom companies have been the fiercest opponents of a proposal under which the American government would treat broadband like a utility, making it easier for regulators to keep internet providers from blocking certain sites or saddling some content providers with slower speeds or higher fees.
Nobel Peace Prize: hope for children’s rights. By Zaki Wahhaj and M Niaz Asadullah
In a celebration of the rights of children, the 2014 Nobel Prize for Peace has been awarded to Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban for going to school in Pakistan, and Kailash Satyarthi, who has been campaigning against child labour in India for more than 20 years. Announcing the award, committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland described it as a recognition of “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”.
In case you missed them earlier:
Kool-Aid Economics, by Chris Wood (paywall)
Canadians have been aware for some time that their Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, subscribes to an arcane fundamentalist strain of Christianity. Being the polite and generally go-along types we are, we have quite properly left his faith between the man and his God. However, it is now evident that Canada’s P.M. is a credulous disciple of another not-so-fringe and much more dangerous faith, about which we have every right to be deeply concerned. That cultic faith is Old Testament economics.
The Hitchbot’s Guide to a Continent. By Frauke Zeller and David Harris Smith
How do you rate your chances of completing a transcontinental road trip? What if you can’t drive and don’t have car? What if you can’t even move unaided? In fact, what about if you’re not even human? Tweeting, GPS-equipped robot Hitchbot managed it, hitchhiking across Canada this summer from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Victoria, British Columbia. The cylindrical robot, sporting a digital LCD smile and a fetching line in matching yellow rubber gloves and boots, completed the 6,000km journey in around 20 days.
Beijing will outwait Hong Kong’s Protesters. By Jonathan Manthorpe (paywall)
Tens of thousands of Hongkongers took advantage of today’s Chinese national holiday to join students who have clogged the city’s streets for four days demanding Beijing deliver on its promise to give the territory democratic autonomy. But the numbers do not look large enough to prompt Beijing to rethink its decision to keep control of the process by which the head of Hong Kong’s government, the Chief Executive, is chosen. The likelihood now is that the authorities will stand back, watch the protests run out of steam and wither of their own accord.
The Musical Travails of Duddy Kravitz: Mordecai Richler, by Brian Brennan (paywall)
In 1974, Mordecai Richler’s great comic novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, about a young Jewish hustler from Montreal who connives, cheats and pushes his way to the top, had been turned into a movie that was a hit in Canada and the United States. And 10 years after that, it was being turned into a stage musical that the backers hoped would be a hit on Broadway. Montreal impresario Sam Gesser had so much faith in the musical, titled simply Duddy, that he was putting up $500,000 of his own money to finance the $1.4 million production. With a libretto adapted by Richler from his novel, and songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller of 1950s’ rock ’n’ roll fame (Hound Dog, Kansas City, Jailhouse Rock), how could it miss?
U.S. Financial Reform: Secret Recordings and a Culture Clash. By Jake Bernstein
One day Carmen Segarra purchased a tiny recorder at the Spy Store and began capturing what took place at Goldman Sachs. In the tale of what happened next lie revelations about the challenges of reforming the American financial system, in the wake of the 2008 crisis that crippled global finances and continues to reverberate through the world economy.
Who is a journalist? What is journalism? By Stephen Ward
The ‘democratization’ of media – technology that allows citizens to engage in journalism and publication of many kinds – blurs the identity of journalists and the idea of what constitutes journalism. It is not always clear whether the term “journalist” begins or ends. If someone does what appears to be journalism, but refuses the label ‘journalist’ is he or she a journalist? If comedian Jon Stewart refuses to call himself a journalist, but magazines refer to him as an influential journalist (or refers to him as someone who does engage in journalism) is Stewart a journalist?
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