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Children’s Book Week is traditionally a time to take an overall view of the last year’s output of children’s books. Such an overall view is necessarily superficial but it can be interesting to note the appearance of new authors and illustrators, new themes, or different treatment of old themes. This article will look at the picture books and fiction of the last twelve months.

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We Australians, in common with everyone else on this planet, live in a very scary world. The survival of the human race is at risk with the threat of Russian/American nuclear war, with the threat of pollution, overpopulation, energy depletion and the risks of nucleology. We are at risk because of the problems created by the dependence of the world economy on continuous economic growth in both the capitalist and communist worlds. Associated with the problems created by economic growth are the ones mentioned above, as well as the base materialism and consumerism which Australia’s transformation from a sheep­walk into a quarry brings, together with it large scale, permanent unemployment. Especially for school leavers. These are what might be termed, the materials problems. ... (read more)

It may seem callous at a time when so much human life is being wasted to spare any concern for the destruction and dissipation of the archaeological collection in the National Museum at Kabul. Yet the loss in both cases is irreplaceable, and it may even be that the loss of the artefacts is, in the long run, qualitatively more important than the loss of individual human lives.

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Nowadays if anyone is lucky enough to be robbed of his good name, he is likely to be rich indeed. But the rules of the game have changed since Iago was inciting Othello to search out a slander where there was none. The libel plaintiff is no longer likely to be another literary character but a real person wearing Othello’s mask of mistaken injury. ... (read more)