GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND …

In an article in the Fairfax Press, Clancy Yeates points out that Australia’s big banks have “slashed loans to fossil fuel companies by almost a fifth in 2017, including a 50 per cent drop in their coal mining exposure”.

On last weekend’s Saturday Extra, Geraldine Doogue interviewed Laura Dassow Wallis, author of Henry David Thoreau: A life. There is a common image of Thoreau as a hermit in the wilderness, but Wallis dispels this image. He was thoroughly connected with society, and was deeply concerned with the way, as capitalism advanced, public land was being taken from the community and enclosed. The appropriation of physical and metaphorical public space for commercial purposes continues to this day.

On Saturday Extra this 3rd February Geraldine Doogue is discussing the unintended consequences of the government’s foreign interference bills on business activity and NGO’s with Elaine Pearson from the Human Rights Watch and Les Timar from the Australian Professional Government Relations Association; Lesley Russell, from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy discusses US business giants who have joined forces to form a company challenging the US health care system; as evidence is being collected of a Rohingya massacre from last August, Richard Paddock, foreign correspondent with the New York Times, traces the history of the Myanmar army and Geraldine Doogue travelled to Rwanda in January to see the silver back gorillas but also discovered a country reconciling the 1994 genocide, Geraldine speaks with Senator Apollinaire Mushinzimana and the head of the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency Arthur Asimwe.

Many economists are predicting strong economic growth this year. But Ross Gittins, commenting on Australia’s stalled wage growth and the  diminished power of organised labour, writes: “Take away the real growth in wages and neither the economy nor jobs will stay growing strongly for long”.

How Australia’s identity was militarised – Paul Daley in the Guardian.

A former communist and a former Catholic activist combine forces to cast new light on the organisation that helped fuel the Labor split – Paul Rodan in Inside Story.

“Qantas and other big Australian businesses are investing regardless of tax cuts” – the Conversation.

We have entered the post-American era, writes Stan Grant

Greg Jericho unravels the miracle of Roger Federer.

Avoiding a US-Rissian military escalation during a hybrid war – Carnegie Moscow Center.

A series of articles by blogger Umair Haque on why the American Dream is over.

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