Mindfulness is in. What began as a form of Buddhist meditation has now been picked up by the mainstream, with even the NHS recommending it as a treatment for mental health conditions. It seems like everyone and their gran is preaching the benefits of switching off and finding your inner peace. So qmunicate challenged 5 of our contributors to take a break from their stressful lives of lectures, essays and making the best magazine in Glasgow. Here they report back on the challenges and benefits of the latest craze in mental wellbeing.
The US launched a missile strike on Shayrat airfield in Syria at the beginning of April in a move that gained a lot of media attention, and may have indicated a shift in US foreign policy. In the confusion of allegiances, motives, and contradictions, the six-year war in Syria remains highly complicated, and this has only been exacerbated by President Trump’s recent foray into warfare. The POTUS previously had emphasised his isolationist position, and opposed action when President Obama was faced with a similar situation in 2013. A week later, Trump also authorised the largest non-nuclear bomb ever to be used in combat against ISIS fighters in Afghanistan, potentially signalling an abrupt change from an inward-looking US to its having interventionist foreign policy.
CCA, 12th March
Nigerian writing is in vogue at the moment, and for good reason. Like many of their compatriots, the two speakers at this Aye Write panel, Ayobami Adebayo and Chibundu Onuzo, are funny, exciting and up-and-coming novelists. Adebayo’s debut novel ‘Stay With Me’ is a complex story of family life that starts with the introduction of a second wife in a marriage. Told through the eyes of both husband and wife, it is intended to “celebrate the women who get up and keep going”. It was listed for the Bailey’s Prize 6 days after its release, and the author says she keeps checking if her name is still on the website to make sure there hasn’t been a mistake.
Dreams are pretty neat, when you think about it. While I also enjoy the ol’ deep sleep, unconscious blackout, dead-lite slumber, you can’t deny how cool it is that our brains regularly put on shows for us while we sleep. It’s like a free ticket to a cinema built solely for you, with no one sitting behind you to kick the chair or munch nosily on popcorn. Yes, sometimes things get weird – you think you bought a ticket for a rom-com and end up instead watching meaningless horror, but isn’t that part of the attraction? Spinning the roulette wheel of dreams keeps things spicy.
NHS England to make available HIV-prevention drug
The HIV-prevention drug PrEP will be made available to 10,000 at risk people on the NHS in England, starting this year. The drug, which can cut infection rates by up to 86%, will be given a three year trial in order to determine how best to target the right people, and how to expand the medication to all who need it.
Guðni Jóhannesson, the President of Iceland (not the shop one) has launched a whirlwind of controversy after he claimed he would like to ban pineapple on pizza. The comments, made at an informal Q&A at an Icelandic secondary school, prompted international backlash, and the President – who holds a largely ceremonial role – had to clarify that he did not have, and did not want to have, the power to ban the “delicacy”. Banning Hawaiian pizza would be a serious overstep of the President’s power, and potentially threaten the Icelandic political system as a whole – yet, isn’t it worth it?
Tortured asylum seekers who have been held in detention in the UK could be released after a high court judge ordered the Home Office to review its policy towards them. Survivors of torture are only legally allowed to be detained in the UK under “extreme circumstances”, but the rewriting of the definition of torture by the government led to hundreds of asylum seekers being incarcerated. The new definition, which was only enacted in September, meant that the abuse had to have been carried out by official state agents in order to be counted as torture, as opposed to by any individual or group.