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Salman Rushdie on the Refugee Crisis: One Good Reason for Europe to Worry

In order to actually solve the refugee crisis you have to solve the problems from which the refugees are fleeing.

Salman Rushdie: In order to actually solve the refugee crisis you have to solve the problems from which the refugees are fleeing. That’s to say the problems — these are very specific areas that Syria, Eritrea, Ethiopia. I mean that’s where almost all of them are coming from. And that’s because all those places are in the long-term grip of very violent and dangerous civil wars. And in order to stop people running you’ve got to remove what they’re running from. And so it just makes very, very urgent the need for negotiated settlements in all these parts of the world. I’m glad that it’s begun to be called the refugee crisis. For a while people were referring to these folks as migrants and that’s not exactly what they are. I mean they’re really people running for their lives. And, of course, I think they need to be not left to starve and die in various no man’s land, you know. They do need to be accommodated somehow.

I do think there is a danger of infiltration of, as it were, terrorist fighters infiltrating as part of the refugee movement, you know. The refugees are really refugees, but it wouldn’t — it’s not rocket science to understand that it’s perfectly possible to place some Jihadist fighters in there. And I think I’m sure that security forces around Europe are extremely aware of that and very concerned about it and that complicates the political decisions or the humanitarian decisions. I just think it’s got to be faced, you know. You obviously need to stop people dying, but you also need to prevent terrorists from coming into the country and killing other people. So I mean it’s a very, very difficult subject, but as I say the solution has to be to look at the causes, you know. The refugees are the effect — you need to look at the cause in order to remove the effect.

In order to actually solve the refugee crisis," explains Booker Prize-winning novelist Salman Rushdie, "you have to solve the problems from which the refugees are fleeing." That problem? War and violence, typically, which is why negotiated settlements to long-standing conflicts must rise near the head of any international priority list. Still, the refugees who are running for their lives must be accommodated by the rest of the world. What makes accommodation tricky is the risk of Jihadist terrorists might infiltrate the west, camouflaged within the sea of people. Efforts must be made to deal with this risk — we cannot deny that it exists — but that also does not give us license to mistreat those who require help.

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
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    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

    Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

    Videos
    • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
    • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
    • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

    Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

    Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

    Credit: Neom
    Technology & Innovation
    • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
    • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
    • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
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    COVID-19 brain study to explore long-term effects of the virus

    A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.

    Coronavirus
    • The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
    • Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
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