Are phones keeping us connected?

BY HAYLEY TAYLOR
@hayloutay

They say that mobile phones are making us less in touch with people physically, but is this really the case? TAFE student Hayley Taylor hits the streets of Newtown to find out whether mobile phones connect us or disconnect us.

Do you think that mobile phone’s are keeping us connected or disconnected? Tell us in the comments below.

Quest for unity

BY RAFAEL SANCHEZ-BAYO @bayo_sanchez

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Takashi Nagai with his children. His health dramatically deteriorated after the Second World War.

We live in a world where hatred and discrimination cloud our minds. Whether it is towards a race, religion or gender, hatred has the same harmful psychological effects. The end of the Second World War saw many Australians ostracising the Japanese due to the bombing of Darwin, the attempted attack on Sydney and the brutal treatment of Australian POWs. Unlike the majority, a small group of Marist Fathers, led by Father John Marsden, embarked on a journey to Japan to seek reconciliation from the Japanese people. Father Paul Glynn was one of these people who took this inspirational trip.

Vox pop: Terrifying time for terriers

BY ANTHONY TURNER

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Johnny Depp with one of the dogs, Pistol. Photos: Facebook and Instagram. Images have been altered

After the deportation of Johnny Depp’s dogs caused global outrage, Certificate IV Radio student Anthony Turner went out to ask some humorous questions:

Featured image created by Michael Golding.

Surviving the HSC

BY ERIC RIBEIRO
@LobEric15

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.” – Hans Selye

Teenagers will be feeling the effects of stress as the Higher School Certificate (HSC) draws nearer, a test which many believe will determine their future. Some students will have to fight their parent’s expectations and their educational system to get where they want to go.

Twelve years of study has come down to one moment.

The HSC is a credential awarded to secondary school students who successfully complete senior high school levels (Year 11 & 12) in New South Wales, Australia. The HSC is currently developed and managed by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES).

Last year, 75,767 students undertook one or more HSC course, while 68,004 of those received a Higher School Certificate. Students must complete at least 12 units of preliminary courses and 10 units of HSC courses, with English being the only compulsory subject.

Life as a Year 12 student can bring on different feelings, emotions and experiences such as:

  • Loss of interest in school.
  • Uncertainty in their plans after the HSC.
  • Relationship issues.
  • Getting a driver’s licence and having the opportunity to drive to and from school.
  • Experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
  • Having a job.
  • Being part of a sporting team during and after school.
  • Depression.

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Angela is a Year 12 student who will be undertaking her HSC this year. For Angela, school is more important than anything else. “I should be trying hard in my studies and not take them too lightly,” she said.

Angela deals with the HSC workload by taking one thing at a time, and giving the most important things attention first. She considers the HSC to be a big deal for students.

“It’s kind of a terrifying aspect to every year 12 student’s life,” Angela says. “It can either give you a proper future, or it can be the biggest let down of your life.”

Many parent’s place different expectations on their children during the HSC. Some students are burdened by great expectations while others, like Angela, receive support for their efforts regardless of the outcome. “My parents tell me that even if I don’t get a good ATAR, that it isn’t the end of the world,” she says.

As the end of her secondary school life approaches, she has come to a realisation about the friendships she has made through school.

“Certain friends aren’t forever… you only see them 5 days a week and… not everything will last,” she said.

Everyone has their own methods of dealing with stress.  “In order to handle my stress, I take time out by listening to music or even talking to my friends to relieve the stress,” Angela says.

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So, here are some tips to remember when dealing with HSC related stress:

  • Having a good environment to study can limit stress with quietness and relaxation.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Sleep well and exercise regularly to calm and relax your body for another round of studying.
  • Avoid late night parties and alcohol consumption because you can lose precious hours of sleep and forget things that you tried hard in studying.
  • Recognise the stress and problems or they will overwhelm you when you’re trying to study.
  • Set realistic goals by reducing the amount of things you do in your life.
  • Relax yourself and remember to take breaks or you will overwhelm yourself with stress.
  • Avoid extreme reactions. It’s good not to go overboard when reacting to problems (e.g. instead of being angry, you could just be sad).

If you are a parent and your child is about to sit the HSC, here are some tips to help you support them during this time:

  • Provide a good place to study. Try and make the environment quiet.
  • Provide good meals.
  • Help give your child sensible hours of sleep.
  • Be supportive and encouraging.
  • Avoid confrontations.
  • Take an interest in your child’s work.
  • Try to encourage the balance between work and breaks.
  • Encourage your child to get help from their teachers, school counsellor and fellow students if they are having trouble managing the workload.

For more great tips on how to deal with HSC stress, head over to the following websites:

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Crossing the line: Sex and relationships

BY MATTHEW TRIPLEY @MT3385

The Line, a new campaign established to take on the issues regarding domestic violence, was launched in Sydney on May 8 and has revealed some worrying attitudes present amongst young people in relationships.

Airstrike kills ISIS second in command

BY RAFAEL SANCHEZ-BAYO
@bayo_sanchez

Islamic State’s second in command has been killed by a US-led airstrike in northern Iraq according to Iraqi officials. The leader, known as Abu Alaa al-Afari, was killed near the city of Tal Afar

The airstrike occurred near Tal Afar, where the US military were conducting airstrikes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Abu Alaa al-Afari was killed at a mosque where the second in command was meeting militants.

However, US Central Command, who are overseeing the war against Islamic State, said it had “no information to corroborate these claims,” And confirmed that, “coalition aircraft did not strike a mosque.”

Iraq’s Ministry of Defence posted a video on its website purportedly showing the airstrike. It did not say when the strike occurred, but according to the Associated Press it was on Tuesday.

Al-Afari, whose real name is Abdul Rahman Mustafa Mohammed, was said to have been the deputy to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was reportedly injured in an airstrike in March. British newspapers reported that al-Baghdadi was incapacitated and gave his leadership role to al-Afari.

On Wednesday, a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Defence said that the best intelligence he had seen suggested that al-Baghdadi was injured but was not incapacitated.

Al-Afari was recently added to a US government list offering rewards for information leading to the death or capture of the top leaders of IS.

Living rough: winter is coming

Could you help please ... An estimated 100,000 Australians live without homes. Photo: Andrew Baldacchino/CC/flickr
Could you help please … An estimated 100,000 or more Australians live without homes. Photo: Andrew Baldacchino/CC/flickr

BY AARON STREATFEILD
@slazanom

Observing commuters struggling to stay dry during the severe weather in Sydney recently, Missionbeat’s Shane Sturgiss noticed a discarded blanket in a doorway.  In their haste to seek shelter and warmth, commuters passed the discarded blanket without noticing it.  But it was at this point Shane realised, this blanket was once a person’s possession, their protection, their warmth and their home.  Where was the blanket’s owner now?

Hello Sailor!

BY AMJAD IBRAHIM
@Charles_Cain77

Operation The Singing Sailor from Swedish Peace on Vimeo.

A faction called the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) lowered a cheeky neon sign into the Baltic Sea featuring a gay sailor, as a peaceful and cost-effective way of stopping Russian submarines from entering Swedish waters. The gizmo, named ‘The Singing Sailor,’ is a watertight box carrying an electroluminescent sign and a constant wave transmitter.

The sign depicts a neon topless sailor gyrating in his very tight underwear (which they call the white flag) back and forth, along with a message in English and Russian: “Welcome to Sweden, Gay Since 1944″. The device also emits a Morse code encryption via sonar that says: “This way if you are gay.”

The move appears to be a jab at Russia’s less-than-tolerant views on homosexuality. In 2013 the Russian government passed a law forbidding the distribution of gay “propaganda.” Homosexuality has been decriminalised in Sweden since 1944.

However SPAS said its motive was influenced by its own government who announced in April an A$1.5 billion increase in military spending. They want to steer away from becoming a more militaristic sovereign, and instead to, “think in new ways instead of falling back on territorial defence, conscription and rearmament – the world doesn’t need more weapons.”

Numerous reports have suggested that Russian submarines had been skulking in Swedish waters over the past year. A search for these subs in October 2014 cost the Swedish government A$3.4 million and was Sweden’s biggest military operation since the end of the Cold War. SPAS President Anna Ek argued in a press release, “If military actions and weapons had functioned as conflict-resolution methods there would be peace in the world a long time ago.”

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) launched in 1883 and is the world’s oldest peace organisation. They are non-profit and have approximately 7500 members.