All white on the night for Australian elections

All white on the night for Australian electionsSYDNEY, Sunday 8 August 2010 (AFP) -- Despite its Aboriginal roots and a large Asian population, Australia's politics are almost exclusively white with just a handful of ethnic minority candidates in this month's elections.

Australia's diversity -- from Outback townships to Sydney's Chinatown and growing numbers of South and Southeast Asians -- is poorly reflected in its leaders, who remain typically Caucasian, middle-aged and male.

Greens seek Federal help to stop Brighton bypass

Greens seek Federal help to stop Brighton bypassThe Australian Greens want Federal intervention in to the controversial Brighton bypass.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal community held a public rally in Hobart yesterday calling for the Jordan River Levee site to be protected.

The Department of Infrastructure is pushing ahead with its planned $12 million bridge over the area.

Greens Senator Christine Milne says the State Government has left those against the proposal with no choice but to go over its head to the Federal Government.

Ayahuasca: indie's new drug of choice

Ayahuasca: indieHave this generation's crop of hippy-dippy indie artists found a new drug to match their music? Devendra Banhart, the Bees and Klaxons have in recent weeks namechecked ayahuasca, a so-called "plant medicine" taken in the Peruvian rainforest over intense 10-day periods. Klaxons' Jamie Reynolds even went so far as to cite the experience as a key factor in helping his band finally follow up their debut album. But before you rush out to guzzle down this herbal brew, it's perhaps best to know what you're letting yourself in for

And they came from Central Asia

And they came from Central AsiaThereís a new paper in AJHG out, Whole-Genome Genetic Diversity in a Sample of Australians with Deep Aboriginal Ancestry, which Iíll hit later. It doesnít have anything too surprising, but in the supplements they have a figure which shows frappe and Structure plots for the HGDP populations as well as their Australian Aboriginal sample. These methods take an individualís genome and assign elements to one of K ancestral populations. For African Americans this is highly illuminating, as K = 2 simply breaks down along European/African ancestral lines. The mean turns out to be ~20% for the minority quantum, exactly what had previously been ascertained through genealogy, classical autosomal markers (e.g., Duffy), and the average of uniparental lineages for European ancestry (African Americans tend to be enriched for European Y chromosomal markers, and have less than the expected European mtDNA markers. Again, totally intelligible in light of the history of relations in the old South).

Indigenous leaders call for constitutional change

Indigenous leaders call for constitutional changeSeveral Aboriginal leaders will meet Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin today to ask her to consider changing the Australian constitution.

Ms Macklin is due to arrive at the Garma Festival in eastern Arnhem Land this morning.

Prominent Indigenous people like Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton and Galarrwuy Yunupingu say it is time Indigenous people were recognised in the nation's supreme law.