The escalating horrors emerging from the war in Ukraine have put the danger of nuclear energy back in the spotlight. Days after Russia’s invasion, President Vladimir Putin said in a military address he was “ordering the defence minister and chief of the general staff to switch the Russian army’s deterrent forces [i.e. nuclear weapons] on to a high alert mode of combat stand-by duty”.
“You’ve often heard us say”, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told the media at one of his regular press conferences on the COVID-19 situation on 5 October 2021, “that no-one wants to get this”. On that day Will Smith, a 24-year-old former athlete, was brought out to speak.
Nijeer Parks knows all too well about the injustices committed by police in the United States. In February 2019, the then 31-year-old Black man from New Jersey had a warrant out for his arrest. His alleged crime: stealing snacks from a hotel gift store and fleeing when confronted by police. Upon hearing about the warrant, Parks went to the police station to (he thought) quickly remedy what was a clear case of mistaken identity. At the time of the alleged crime he was 30 miles away, sending money to his partner at a Western Union.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put healthcare around the world in the spotlight. In Australia, it has revealed a system breaking at the seams. Our hospitals were shown to have no surge capacity to accommodate an anticipated influx of intensive care patients, no stockpiles of personal protective equipment for carers and no effective strategy to protect front-line healthcare workers from contracting the virus.
Amazon’s latest employee wellness initiative—the installation of “AmaZen mindful practice rooms” in its warehouses—could easily have been something from the Netflix sci-fi series Black Mirror. It has exactly the balance of the familiar (anyone who has been subject to faddish “employee wellness” programs will recognise the grift) and the sinister (in the “mindful practice room”, can anyone hear you scream?).
The rapid development of vaccines against COVID-19 should be a positive, life-saving development. Happening at a speed many in the medical field would have previously thought impossible, these vaccines provide a glimmer of hope that an end to this once-in-a-century pandemic is possible.