Keep up with ethics-related stories appearing in the news.
Below are stories collected from news sources around the web relating to ethics. Click on the links provided to read the stories in full.
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nb. Links to new stories are generally to external websites. St James Ethics Centre is not responsible for the content on these sites. Some links may become invalid over time and this is beyond our control.
Who’s a dinosaur?:
26 February 2013 - The Economist
LIKE much that moves in twitter-mad Saudi Arabia these days, it started with a single message. A lady in Dammam, the hub of the oil industry on the kingdom’s Gulf coast, tweeted a complaint from a local shopping mall. Agents of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, she said, were causing an unpleasant scene. The government-salaried vigilantes, a bearded...
Can Machines Learn Morality?:The Smithsonian
8 February 2013 - Innovations
When John Brennan, President Obama’s choice to be the next head of the CIA, appeared before a Senate committee yesterday, one question supplanted all others at his confirmation hearing:
How are the decisions made to send killer drones after suspected terrorists?
The how and, for that matter, the why of ordering specific drone strikes remains largely a mystery, but at least...
White House: Drone program ‘legal’, ‘ethical’ and ‘wise’. Is it?: Maryann Cusimano Love
5 February 2013 - The Washington Post
The Obama administration argues that the U.S. drone program is legal and moral. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday of the administration’s policy, “These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.” Legally, they cite the congressional authorization of force in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the president’...
Drone Strikes’ Risks to Get Rare Moment in the Public Eye: Robert F. Worth
5 February 2013 - The New York Times
SANA, Yemen — Late last August, a 40-year-old cleric named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber stood up to deliver a speech denouncing Al Qaeda in a village mosque in far eastern Yemen. It was a brave gesture by a father of seven who commanded great respect in the community, and it did not go unnoticed. Two days later, three members of Al Qaeda came to the mosque in the tiny village of Khashamir...
Not Minding My Own Business: Leviticus, Morality, and Not Killing Gay People: Derek Penwell
5 February 2013 - Huffington Post: Blog
Minding my own business. That’s all I was doing. A little catching up on social media, when I came across an article about a Colorado pastor, Kevin Swanson, who warned on his radio show that inside of ten years, gay people will likely be burning Christians at the stake -- because, you know, that’s how the gays do … at least since Nero.
The politics of the “new evangelicals”: Rethinking abortion and gay marriage: Marcia Pally
9 February 2013 - ABC Religion and Ethics
In 2005, no less a publication than Christianity Today wrote, "George W. Bush is not Lord ... The American flag is not the Cross. The Pledge of Allegiance is not the Creed. 'God Bless America' is not Doxology." For Christianity Today to have so declared must mean that someone at the time indeed did think all those things - and in fact, that the religious right in the United...
Issues of Scale: SMEs and Sustainability Report Assurance: Amir Ghandar
6 February 2013 - Pro Bono Australia: News
Industry associations can play a pivotal role in driving the uptake of sustainability practices says policy advisor Amir Ghandar from CPA Australia.
While the impacts differ, the principles that underpin sustainable management, and sustainability reporting are equally applicable to organisations of all sizes. Whether you’re dealing with a medium sized business or a very large...
UK move spurs new Greens push for gay marriage: Stephanie Peatling
6 February 2013 - The Sydney Morning Herald,
The Greens will introduce an updated marriage equality bill into the Senate after the British House of Commons voted in favour of extending equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
The bill was passed on Tuesday in London after the Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, allowed his MPs a conscience vote.
What some powerful businessmen say about women in leadership: Angela Priestley
7 February 2013 - Women’s Agenda
Attending an event put on by a women's networking group, you don't always expect a strong male presence, or even for the few men who do attend to dominate much of the discussion.
No places for children in ethics classes: Amy McNeilage
14 February 2013 - Sydney Morning Herald
CHILDREN are being turned away from ethics classes in public schools because there are not enough volunteers or funding to meet demand.
Schools such as Gosford Public School on the central coast can offer classes only to those attending non-scripture classes. The school has no space to allow children learning scripture to opt out and study ethics.
The Way of the Agnostic Gary Gutting
20 January 2013 - The New York Times: Opinionator
Two of Simon Critchley’s recent Stone columns, “Why I Love Mormonism” and “The Freedom of Faith,” offer much-needed reflections, sympathetic but critical, on particular religions. Such reflections are important because religions occupy an ambivalent position in our world.
The moral molecule: Samar Halarnkar
24 January 2013 - The Wall Street Journal: Livemint
The hormone oxytocin is regarded as an elixir for love and happiness. But a dark side is emerging
Samar Halarnkar. If adrenaline is the body’s system of dealing with a fight-or-flight situation, oxytocin is its system of calm and connection. Charles Lindbergh, the man who made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1927, said adrenaline made him feel like he could fly...
A World Without A Moral Guidepost?, Ian Bremmer
30 January 2013 - The Huffington Post: Blog
On Describing The Age We Live In Today
Today, we are living in a global political order that has become unmoored from when the underlying trend was toward U.S.-led globalization. We have much less of a single moral guidepost.
We're losing some of our moral sensibilities -- and perhaps more importantly, it's a world where leaders will find it increasingly difficult to act...
Still keeping women out: a short history of Australian abortion law: Kate Gleeson
24 January 2013 - The Conversation
Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)), which found that Texas State law prohibiting abortion was unconstitutional. The landmark decision continues to be celebrated globally and is seen by many as ushering in a new era of abortion law reform although reform in Australia started on a similar model in the 1960s.
Four decades after Roe: A legacy of law and morality: Bill Mears, CNN
19 January 2013 - CNN
Washington (CNN) -- Four decades since Roe v. Wade, and little, it seems, has changed.
The January 22, 1973, Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion remains the law of the land, passions remain high on both sides of the issue, and protests are held each year on its anniversary.
Modern Dilemmas: Elisabeth Shaw and Ethi-call: Elisabeth Shaw, Natasha Mitchell
17 January 2012 - ABC Radio National
Most of us want to behave ethically, but when we’re tested do our actions match our ideals? And how can we make mindful and ethical decisions? Ethi-call is a free service run by the St James Ethics centre that provides counselling assistance for anyone with an ethical conundrum.
What Is Australia’s Identity?, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Tanya Horsch, Fran Kelly
28 January 2013 - ABC Radio National
If one thing's for certain about Australian identity, it's that we have spent the last couple of hundred years in a state of flux.
So how is the identity of Australians shifting in the light of multiculturalism, and how would you characterise the identity of a modern Indigenous Australian?
What is the right punishment for Lance Armstrong: Lucy Kippist
16 January 2013 - News.com.au
WHAT happens now? That will be the question on everybody's lips this Friday, assuming the Lance Armstrong versus Oprah TV extravaganza results in an expected full confession from the troubled sports star.
But righting the wrongs of this particular situation is less straightforward than you might think.
American attorney Jeff Tillotson, the only lawyer to get a testimony...
Now is the time for gun control: Kate Carnell, Dr. Simon Longstaff
15 December 2012 - ABC News
Kate Carnell from Beyond Blue and Doctor Simon Longstaff from the St James Ethics Centre discuss the possibility of gun control in the United States and how it might be managed.
‘Vegemite Nationalism’, Amanda Vanstone & Dr. Simon Longstaff
28 January 2013 - ABC Radio National
Dr. Simon Longstaff joined Amanda Vanstone on ABC Radio National to discuss the difference between patriotism and nationalism around Australia Day 2013, appeared on ABC News to talk about gun control in Australia and commented on Lance Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Trust me, I’m a banker: Oath
28 December 2012 - The Financial Review: Sally Rose
Society has long revered the integrity of the medical profession’s Hippocratic oath. Financiers, on the other hand, have never had a warm and fuzzy image. The industry has copped a rough portrayal in popular culture from Shylock to Gordon Gekko.
“Since the global financial crisis of 2008, there has been a further erosion of public trust in financial institutions,” says...
The Church and the Global Financial Crisis
19 January 2013 - Radio National
Throughout 2012, much of the world dealt with the on-going fall-out from the global financial crisis. Budgets and jobs were slashed across Europe and the United States. Demonstrators hit the streets, riots broke out. So how should the churches respond to the financial crisis? Apart from providing relief to the needy, is there an ethical obligation to speak against greed? And have the churches...
The F Word–Feminism
14 January 2013 - The Huffington Post: Scottee
Growing up in a council flat in Kentish Town in the mid-80s with a my bulimic single mum and a copy of Fat Is a Feminist Issue on the kitchen table meant I was a feminist before I could even walk. Mum wore the trousers, put food on the table and was liberal in her parenting. I fetched tampons from the corner shop for her, watched her bath whilst discussing my emotions and encouraged to wear...
The Observer’s decision to censor Julie Burchill is a disgrace
14 January 2013 - The Telegraph Toby Young
I'm shocked by the decision of the Observer to remove Julie Burchill's controversial article about transsexuals from its website. Whatever you think of its politics, the Observer is a paper with a great liberal tradition. For it to muzzle one of its own journalists – albeit a freelance contributor – on the grounds that some people on the Left found her views distasteful is...
It’s coalminers, not Moylan, who are costing us the Earth
11 January 2013 - The Age, Bob Brown
''CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.''
That was not me nor Christine Milne speaking in the Senate. It is a quote from the testimony of James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute of...
Public nuisance–or fraud? Whitehaven hoax puts market creditability at risk
10 January 2013 - Michael Adams: The Conversation
It has has been suggested a hoax by anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan wiping million of dollars from Whitehaven Coal’s share price was an act of “civil disobedience”, akin to chaining a person to a tree, a public protest or even a prank call on the radio.
Activists across all campaigns have traditionally used a variety of techniques to gain the maximum amount of...
What is an Assange? Part 2
14 January 2013 - John Cusack, The Huffington Post: Blog
Two and a half weeks ago, I was pleased to help launch the Freedom of the Press Foundation, which aims to promote and help fund independent journalism organizations who aggressively report on issues that the U.S. government considers secret. You can read about it here (and see Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder Daniel Ellsberg's post here).
Below is the second part of my...
What Is an Assange? Part 1
1 January 2013 - John Cusack, The Huffington Post: Blog
This week, I was proud to join the board and help launch the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a new organization which plans on crowd-funding for a variety of independent journalism outlets whose prime mission is to seek transparency and accountability in government. You can read about the first group of four organizations -- which includes the National Security Archive, MuckRock News, and The...
We have created a world of 'civilised savages'
11 January 2013 - Hussein Tahiri, The Sydney Morning Herald
Our modern society lacks the moral compass of civilisation.
The year 2012 seemed to pass like a flash but in terms of human suffering, it might as well have lasted a decade, leaving a series of enduring problems to be tackled in 2013. The ''Arab Spring'' not only did not live up to expectations but has forecast a gloomy future for the Middle East and the world. Civil war...
Establishing the facts about the boycott of Israeli academic institutions
15 January 2013 - The Conversation
The last weeks of 2012 saw a great amount of criticism levelled at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University and its director Jake Lynch following their boycott of an exchange program with Hebrew University.
Critical coverage in The Australian newspaper has been particularly intense. Christian Kerr broke the story, and wrote follow-ups here, here, here and here...
We don't want our burqas back: women in Afghanistan on the Taliban's return
13 January 2013 - The Observer
When the troops withdraw from Afghanistan next year, many fear a terrible backlash. Tracy McVeigh meets seven women who rebuilt their lives after Taliban oppression – and finds them at risk once more.
Pre-dawn in Kabul. In each dark street a short line of giant lightbulbs switch on, red, green and white, marking bakeries where warm slabs of golden flatbread are handed through open...
Could you sell every possession you own?
4 December 2012 - The Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney artist and aid worker, Aaron Moore, is about to start the auction of his life. On Tuesday evening, the 34-year-old plans to sell everything he owns and give all the proceeds to the non-for-profit organisation for which he works, Global Concern.
There is more to tragedy than meets the eye
9 December 2012 - The Sunday Telegraph
IT was with a heavy heart I woke to the news that London nurse Jacintha Saldanha had died in a suspected suicide.
The 46-year-old mother-of-two was the on the end of a childish and seemingly harmless radio prank that astonished everyone.
Her only sin was to believe Australian radio duo Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who made a hoax call pretending to be the Queen and Prince...
8 December 2012 - Radio Today
Ethics are only genuine if they are consistent.
The problem is that, by definition, ethics can’t be applied on a situational basis. You either believe in something or you don’t.
People are lining up to attack Mel Greig, Michael Christian and Southern Cross Austereo over this weeks prank call.
However it is only now, after the call set in place a terrible train...
Should We Give a Homeless Man Shoes?
5 December 2012 - The Huffington Post: Religion
It started out as the most heartwarming story of the week. A NYPD cop caught in the act of buying socks and shoes for a homeless man he saw barefoot on a cold night.
"I had to help" Officer Larry DePrimo told CNN, "You could see the blisters (on his feet) from 15 feet away."
The photo of DePrimo helping the man taken by a tourist went viral with more than 400,...
Putting Charities to the Test
5 December 2012 - New York Times: Opinionator
December is giving season. According to Charity Navigator, charities surveyed reported that 41 percent of their annual contributions from individuals arrives between Thanksgiving and New Year.
How do you decide where to give? People want to give where their money will be used effectively, of course. For many, that means researching on Charity Navigator or the Better Business Bureau...
Opting out of religion only way in to ethics
5 December 2012 - Sydney Morning Herald
PARENTS will not be told of the availability of ethics classes in their school until after they have opted out of special religious education, or scripture, under changes to be adopted by the state government.
A government-initiated parliamentary inquiry into ethics classes advocated the approach in April, angering supporters who claimed it was designed to impede their take-up in...
Separation of scripture and ethics
5 December 2012 - 702 ABC
Why is it that ethics classes and scripture classes need to be kept as separate options for parents?
The current situation in New South Wales is that parents will not be advised if ethics classes are available at their school unless they opt out of sending their children to scripture classes.
It's time for business schools to put human rights on the agenda
11 December 2012 - The Conversation
Last week, the UN held its first-ever business and human rights forum in Geneva. It’s part of a growing awareness that multinationals have a big impact on human rights. Opening the forum, the UN’s human rights chief Navi Pillay said:
“Responsible business means acting with respect for human rights, reflecting the fact that long-term business prospects are tightly...
Moral Evaluations of Harm are Instant and Emotional, Brain Study Shows
4 December 2012 - Science Blog
People are able to detect, within a split second, if a hurtful action they are witnessing is intentional or accidental, new research on the brain at the University of Chicago shows.
The study is the first to explain how the brain is hard-wired to recognize when another person is being intentionally harmed. It also provides new insights into how such recognition is connected with emotion...
7 December 2012 - The Huffington Post: Science
Thousands of years ago it was written in Corinthians 15:26: "And the last enemy to be destroyed is death." Throughout history, we humans have vainly tried to defeat death in whatever way we could. We have created religions that promise an afterlife. We have, like Alexander the Great, conquered entire nations -- not for land but for eternal fame. We have searched for "fountains...
The Leveson inquiry: Hacked to pieces
8 December 2012 - The Economist
A somewhat mediocre report could yet lead to better press rules in Britain.
IT IS easy to see why British journalists rank so low in public esteem. An inquiry into media ethics (or lack of them) by Lord Justice Leveson has heard in excruciating detail how tabloid reporters and their sidekicks bullied, stole and cheated with impunity, while their bosses hobnobbed with police officers and...
South East Asia finally turning its back on execution
11 December 2012 - ABC The Drum: Opinion
The movement to abolish the death penalty has finally gathered momentum in South East Asia, writes barrister Julian McMahon. Our leaders must continue to present a united voice in the debate.