Single sentence novel wins £10,000 award


LONDON (BBC): A novel written in a single unbroken sentence has won the Goldsmiths Prize 2016. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack was named the winner of the £10,000 award, which recognises fiction “that breaks the mould”. Published by Tramp Press, the novel follows the recollections of an engineer named Marcus Conway briefly returned from the dead. McCormack is the third Irish writer to win since the prize began in 2013. Chairman of judges Professor Blake Morrison said: “Set over a few hours in a single day, and told in the first-person voice of a middle-aged engineer, Mike McCormack’s Solar Bones transcends these seeming limits magnificently. “Politics, family, art, marriage, health, civic duty and the environment are just a few of the themes it touches on, in a prose that’s lyrical yet firmly rooted. “Its subject may be an ordinary working life but it is itself an extraordinary work.” McCormack, 51, called on more publishers to take risks with experimental authors. “Readers are smart. They’re up for it,” he said. “That was what the people at Tramp Press taught me. There are readers out there and they have been proved right.”

The prize was founded in 2013 by Goldsmiths, University of London, and is held in partnership with the New Statesman.



 App launched in India to rein child abuse

MUMBAI (Reuters): A state in western India has launched a mobile app for people to report child abuse, in an effort to protect children after a series of abuses came to light. The Maharashtra State Child Rights Protection Commission on Wednesday launched the Child Helpline for Information on Rights and Address Grievances (Chirag), a mobile application for Android phones that also provides information on children’s rights, including legislation. “Nowadays, every other person uses a smartphone and downloads applications,” Pankaja Munde, Maharashtra state minister for women and child welfare, told reporters. “Chirag will enable people to reach out to the commission and save children from abuse.” Registering a complaint on the app will send an email to the commission, which will direct it to police or a child-rights charity. A statewide campaign is being rolled out to create awareness in schools, offices and elsewhere, Munde said. Officials in Maharashtra, one of India’s wealthiest states, said earlier this week they had set up a special investigation team to look into allegations of sexual abuse of at least 12 girls at a boarding school for tribal children.

  That came on the heels of an inquiry by the National Human Rights Commission into the deaths of more than 700 indigenous children in the past decade in state-run schools in Maharashtra.

India is the world’s second biggest market for mobile phones, with more than 1 billion users. Use of smartphones is increasing on the back of rising incomes.

Earlier this year, India’s only toll-free emergency helpline for street children and children in distress unveiled kiosks with touch-screen technology to replace disappearing public telephone booths.

A total of 94,172 crimes against children were recorded last year, according to official data, marginally higher than the previous year. Many more crimes go unreported, activists say.

The mobile app can help increase awareness and take the message of children’s rights further, said Sanjay Macwan, field office director at the International Justice Mission, the rights group that helped develop the app.

“The app puts promotion, protection and preservation of child rights in peoples’ hands,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Rights issues can be dry, hard to understand. The app makes it easy to grasp and accessible to anyone with a phone.”



 Environmentalists face tough task after Trump win

HONG KONG (AFP): British primatologist and renowned environmentalist Jane Goodall said Thursday that those who care for the planet would have to work harder in response to Donald Trump’s shock US presidential election victory. The maverick billionaire, who defied polls on Tuesday with a win that has triggered protests in major cities across the country, has long worried environmentalists with his stance on climate change. “The people who say climate change doesn’t exist, which Donald Trump says, this is so frightening,” the 82-year-old Goodall told AFP when asked about Trump’s victory at an event in Hong Kong. “Those of us who care, one, must never give up and, two, we have to work even harder,” she said. “What’s going to happen to all the progress we’ve made in the United States? I don’t know.” Goodall, who has studied chimpanzees for over 50 years, is best known for rolling with the primates in the African wild and revealing the apes’ true nature as never before. She was in the southern Chinese city to promote her Roots and Shoots program, which started in 1991 and encourages kids to come up with ideas to help people, animals and the environment, and is now a major movement in nearly 100 countries.

Trump has described global warming as a “hoax” perpetrated by the Chinese government, and has said at different times that he would “renegotiate” or “cancel” the landmark climate-rescue Paris Agreement inked last year.



 Australia ratifies climate pact amid Trump fears

SYDNEY (AFP): Australia ratified the Paris climate agreement on Thursday, amid fears US president-elect Donald Trump could follow through on his pledge to “cancel” the landmark pact aimed at tackling global warming. More than 100 nations representing 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions have inked the historic Paris Agreement, the world’s first universal climate pact, which came into force in early November. Australia’s approval of the binding deal was delayed by national elections in July and its announcement Thursday came ahead of the departure of the country’s foreign and environment ministers for UN climate talks in Marrakesh. “Ratification of the agreement confirms Australia’s ambitious and responsible target to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2030,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a joint statement with the two ministers. “We are on track to meet and indeed beat our 2020 targets... and are committed to meeting our 2030 targets under the agreement.” With its heavy use of coal-fired power and relatively small population of 24 million, Australia is considered one of the world’s worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters.

When asked if Canberra would follow the United States if it exited the treaty, the prime minister stressed Australia’s commitment to the “watershed” agreement.

“We have ratified the agreement. It will - it takes four years to withdraw - if a country sought to withdraw from the agreement it takes four years,” he told reporters.

“Secondly, this is a global agreement. When Australia makes a commitment to a global agreement, we follow through and that is exactly what we are doing.”

Environmental groups welcomed the ratification but said Australia needed to do more.

“There’s no way Australia can continue to approve new fossil fuel projects and keep the commitments it has just made,” Greenpeace Australia’s Pacific climate and energy campaigner Shani Tager said in a statement.

“As the world’s largest exporter of coal, the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel, Australia’s first step to meeting this promise must be a ban on new coal mines.”

Climate change denier Trump, who has made no secret of his disregard for the United Nations, pledged earlier this year to withdraw from the Paris climate deal. In contrast, current US President Barack Obama has been a champion of the pact.

The US is the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas polluter after China, producing 13 percent of global emissions.

France’s environment minister and outgoing head of the UN climate forum Segolene Royal said Wednesday that Trump “cannot prevent the implementation” of the pact.

“He cannot - contrary to his assertions - undo the Paris Agreement,” she told French radio station RTL.