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How much public and elite support is there for the use of a citizens’ assembly – a random selection of citizens brought together to consider a policy issue – to tackle major, deadlock-inducing disagreements in deeply divided places with consociational political institutions? We focus on Northern Ireland and use evidence from a cross-sectional attitude survey, a survey-based experiment and elite interviews. We find that the general public support decision-making by a citizens’ assembly, even when the decision reached is one they personally disagree with. However, support is lower among those with strong ideological views. We also find that elected politicians oppose delegating decision-making power to an ‘undemocratic’ citizens’ assembly, but are more supportive of recommendation-making power. These findings highlight the potential for post-conflict consociations to be amended, with the consent of the parties, to include citizens’ assemblies that make recommendations but not binding policy.
To identify the ways in which parental involvement can be incorporated into interventions to support adolescent health behaviour change.
Data from semi-structured interviews were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
Southampton, Hampshire, UK.
A convenience sample of twenty-four parents of adolescents.
Parents consider themselves to play an important role in supporting their adolescents to make healthy choices. Parents saw themselves as gatekeepers of the household and as role models to their adolescents but recognised this could be both positive and negative in terms of health behaviours. Parents described the changing dynamics of the relationships they have with their adolescents because of increased adolescent autonomy. Parents stated that these changes altered their level of influence over adolescents’ health behaviours. Parents considered it important to promote independence in their adolescents; however, many described this as challenging because they believed their adolescents were likely to make unhealthy decisions if not given guidance. Parents reported difficulty in supporting adolescents in a way that was not viewed as forceful or pressuring.
When designing adolescent health interventions that include parental components, researchers need to be aware of the disconnect between public health recommendations and the everyday reality for adolescents and their parents. Parental involvement in adolescent interventions could be helpful but needs to be done in a manner that is acceptable to both adolescents and parents. The findings of this study may be useful to inform interventions which need to consider the transitions and negotiations which are common in homes containing adolescents.
Background: Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is well established as a high-resolution method for measuring bacterial relatedness to better understand infection transmission in cases of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). However, sequencing is still rarely used in HAI investigations due to a lack of access to computational analysis platforms with actionable turnaround times. Single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis is typically used to determine bacterial relatedness. However, SNP-based methods often require a suite of bioinformatics tools that can be difficult to use and interpret without the expertise of a trained computational biologist. These obstacles become more significant in the case of prospective, real-time surveillance of HAIs, which can require the analysis of a large number of isolates. To enable the use of WGS for proactive determination of infection outbreaks, a rapid, automated method that can scale to large data sets is needed. Methods: Here, we demonstrate the capabilities of ksim, a novel automated algorithm to determine the clonality of bacterial samples using WGS. ksim measures the number of shared kmers (genomic subsequences of length k) between bacterial samples to determine their relatedness. ksim also filters out accessory genomic regions, such as plasmids, that can confound genetic relatedness estimates. We benchmarked the accuracy and speed of ksim relative to an SNP-based pipeline on simulated data sets (with sequencing reads generated in silico) and on 9 clinical-cluster data sets (6 publicly available and 3 real-time data sets from Massachusetts General Hospital [MGH]). We also used ksim to determine the relatedness of >5,000 historical clinical bacterial isolates from MGH, collected between 2015 and 2019. Results: ksim first preprocesses raw sequencing data to generate a common data structure, after which it computes the genomic distance between bacterial samples in ∼0.2 seconds in simple cases and in ∼4 seconds in complex cases when accessory genome filtering is required. In simulations across 5 species, ksim determined clonality (defined as <40 SNPs) with high accuracy (sensitivity, 99.7% and specificity, 99.6%). ksim performance on 9 clinical HAI data sets demonstrated its sensitivity (99.4%) and specificity (90.8%) compared to an SNP-based pipeline. ksim efficiently analyzed >5,000 clinical samples from MGH and found previously unidentified transmission clusters. Conclusions:ksim shows promise for rapid clonality determination in HAI outbreaks and has the potential to scale to tens of thousands of samples. This method could enable infection control teams to use WGS for prospective outbreak detection via an automated computational pipeline without the need for specialized computational biology training.
Funding: Day Zero Diagnostics and the NIH provided Funding: for this study.
Disclosures: Mohamad Sater reports salary from Day Zero Diagnostics.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggest that behaviour change interventions have modest effect sizes, struggle to demonstrate effect in the long term and that there is high heterogeneity between studies. Such interventions take huge effort to design and run for relatively small returns in terms of changes to behaviour.
So why do behaviour change interventions not work and how can we make them more effective? This article offers some ideas about what may underpin the failure of behaviour change interventions. We propose three main reasons that may explain why our current methods of conducting behaviour change interventions struggle to achieve the changes we expect: 1) our current model for testing the efficacy or effectiveness of interventions tends to a mean effect size. This ignores individual differences in response to interventions; 2) our interventions tend to assume that everyone values health in the way we do as health professionals; and 3) the great majority of our interventions focus on addressing cognitions as mechanisms of change. We appeal to people’s logic and rationality rather than recognising that much of what we do and how we behave, including our health behaviours, is governed as much by how we feel and how engaged we are emotionally as it is with what we plan and intend to do.
Drawing on our team’s experience of developing multiple interventions to promote and support health behaviour change with a variety of populations in different global contexts, this article explores strategies with potential to address these issues.
We describe a versatile infrared camera/spectrograph, IRIS, designed and constructed at the Anglo-Australian Observatory for use on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. A variety of optical configurations can be selected under remote control to provide several direct image scales and a few low-resolution spectroscopic formats. Two cross-dispersed transmission echelles are of novel design, as is the use of a modified Bowen-Burch system to provide a fast f/ratio in the widest-field option. The drive electronics includes a choice of readout schemes for versatility, and continuous display when the array is not taking data, to facilitate field acquisition and focusing.
The linearity of the detector has been studied in detail. Although outwardly good, slight nonlinearities prevent removal of fixed-pattern noise from the data without application of a cubic linearising function.
Specific control and data-reduction software has been written. We describe also a scanning mode developed for spectroscopic imaging.
Drillholes made by naticid and muricid gastropods are frequently used in evolutionary and ecological studies because they provide direct, preservable evidence of predation. The muricid Ecphora is common in many Neogene Atlantic Coastal Plain assemblages in the United States, but is frequently ignored in studies of naticid predation. We used a combination of Pliocene fossil, modern beach, and experimentally derived samples to evaluate the hypothesis that Ecphora was an important source of drillholes in infaunal bivalve prey shared with naticids. We focused on the large, thick-shelled venerid, Mercenaria, which is commonly drilled by naticids today. Laboratory experiments, modern beach samples, and the published literature confirm that naticids preferentially drill near the umbo (significant clumping of holes), show a significant correlation between prey size and predator size (estimated by outer borehole diameter), and prefer Mercenaria <50 mm antero-posterior width when other prey are present. Fossil samples containing Ecphora (with or without other large muricids) show no drillhole site stereotypy (no significant clumping, greater variability in placement), no significant predator: prey size correlation, drilled prey shells larger than the largest modern naticids could produce in an experimental setting, and drillholes larger in diameter than those estimated for the largest Pliocene naticids, thus supporting our hypothesis. Substantial overlap in the placement of holes drilled by naticids and muricids, however, made identifying predators from drillhole position problematic. The lack of overlapping ranges of prey shell thickness between fossil and other samples precluded the use of drillhole morphology to establish predator identity (e.g., ratio of inner borehole diameter to outer borehole diameter, drillhole angle). Whereas the difficulty in determining predator identity from drillholes limits the types of analyses that can be reliably performed in mixed-predator assemblages, recognizing Ecphora as a prominent drilling predator creates the opportunity to investigate previously unrecognized questions.
We report on an influenza B outbreak in an Ontario long-term care facility in which 2 immunized residents receiving oseltamivir prophylaxis for at least 5 days developed laboratory-confirmed influenza B infection. All isolates were tested for the most common oseltamivir resistance, and none of them had resistance identified.
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) will give us an unprecedented opportunity to investigate the transient sky at radio wavelengths. In this paper we present VAST, an ASKAP survey for Variables and Slow Transients. VAST will exploit the wide-field survey capabilities of ASKAP to enable the discovery and investigation of variable and transient phenomena from the local to the cosmological, including flare stars, intermittent pulsars, X-ray binaries, magnetars, extreme scattering events, interstellar scintillation, radio supernovae, and orphan afterglows of gamma-ray bursts. In addition, it will allow us to probe unexplored regions of parameter space where new classes of transient sources may be detected. In this paper we review the known radio transient and variable populations and the current results from blind radio surveys. We outline a comprehensive program based on a multi-tiered survey strategy to characterise the radio transient sky through detection and monitoring of transient and variable sources on the ASKAP imaging timescales of 5 s and greater. We also present an analysis of the expected source populations that we will be able to detect with VAST.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT CREATED THE potential for modern mass democracy. Instead of directly participating in political decision making as in the Greek polis or the Swiss canton, the public selects legislators to represent them in government deliberations. Citizen control over government thus occurs through periodic, competitive elections to select these elites. Elections should ensure that government officials are responsive and accountable to the public. By accepting this electoral process, the public gives its consent to be governed by the elites selected. The democratic process thus depends on an effective and responsive relationship between the representative and the represented.
The linkage between the public and the political decision makers is one of the essential topics for the study of democratic political systems (e.g., Miller and Stokes 1963; Miller et al. 1999; Powell 2000; Shapiro et al. 2010). The topic of representation is entirely appropriate in a volume dedicated to Jacques Thomassen since this has been one of his career research interests (Thomassen 1976, 1994, 2009a; Thomassen and Schmitt 1997; Schmitt and Thomassen 1999). This general topic has also generated extensive research on the nature of elections and citizen voting behavior, which examines the choices available to voters and their decision-making process. A related literature examines the process of government formation, and the correspondence between electoral outcomes and the resulting government. Representation research involves the merger of these two literatures to examine the correspondence between citizens and their elected leaders, and the factors that maximize agreement.
This representation literature provides the foundation for the research presented here; however, we offer a different perspective on how elections produce democratic representation and accountability. Most of the previous literature views elections and government formation as discrete decision-making processes. Voters make their electoral choices much as they might make a major consumer purchase in a car dealership or a department store, and a large part of the literature explicitly utilizes such an economic choice approach. Similarly, research on the formation of government coalitions typically adopts the same approach, except that political leaders and parties are making the choices on cabinet formation once the votes are counted.
Historians of international law differ over Montesquieu's observation in the Spirit of Laws that ‘all countries have a law of nations, not excepting the Iroquois themselves, though they devour their prisoners: for they send and receive ambassadors, and understand the rights of war and peace’. One school of thought argues in opposition to Montesquieu that international law is essentially a European invention, although there are different emphases within this school as to whether international law commences with the ancient Greeks, with the Romans, with medieval Christendom, with early modernity, or with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. Others, who object to the eurocentrism implicit or explicit in such views, assert that a truly universal system of international law is not apparent until the late nineteenth century. Yet another thesis, with the same starting point of resisting eurocentric interpretations, maintains that there was a universal international legal order roughly from the rise of Islam until the late eighteenth century but the nineteenth century doctrine of sovereignty and legal positivism, together with European imperialism, involved a shift away from the broad moral principles of natural law that underpinned the universal order towards a self-serving distinction between ‘civilised’ states, which could have legal obligations toward each other, and the rest, which were outside the legal system. Additional complications are to be found in claims that the true origins of international law are to be found in the ancient Middle East, or China, or India.
In our Introduction to this book, we asserted that international law matters more now than ever before. In our historical discussion in Chapter 2 we also suggested that global or regional power structures have always been a major determinant of the content and efficacy of international law. The last twenty years has witnessed a complex interaction between the dynamics created by these two factors, while potentially fundamental changes in the global balance of power will ensure that it may be some decades before a clear and enduring outcome of this interaction is in sight. Up to the time of the global economic collapse of 2007–2008 most predictions would have been based on assumptions about the continuing supremacy of the United States (US). The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 had left the world with only one superpower. What was quickly recognised to be a ‘unipolar moment’ in world history was predicted as leading towards a unipolar age. The concentration of economic, military and political power in the US was seen as so great that no rival power could rise, nor counter-balancing alliance emerge, for the foreseeable future. Indeed, it became common to speak of US hegemony in imperial terms. Hence Joseph Nye noted in 2003: ‘the world “empire” has come out of the closet. Respected analysts on both the left and the right are beginning to refer to “American empire” approvingly as the dominant narrative of the 21st century.’ This view of the US was shared across the world. As one Russian specialist observed, ‘whether or not the US now views itself as an empire, for many foreigners it increasingly looks, walks and talks like one, and they respond to Washington accordingly’.
This hegemonic US often appeared to show scant regard for international law. It opposed major multilateral treaties on nuclear testing, landmines, climate change, biological diversity, law of the sea and the International Criminal Court (ICC), all of which were supported by most other states. More dramatically still, the controversial US invasion of Iraq in 2003 without a clear mandate from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was widely pointed to as evidence of actual US lawlessness. The picture that emerged was one of an unbound US pushing its weight around the world.
This book is intended to introduce International Relations (IR) students to the complexities of international law. It emphasises the different ways of looking at international law, in terms of what it is, how it works and how it changes. This book is also intended to introduce International Law (IL) students to the complexities of international relations and, in particular, to the various ways that IR scholars have conceived the dominant structures, main actors and driving forces of world politics. To these ends, we seek to do three things:
(1) to situate international law in its political and historical context;
(2) to give students a foundation in the main theories of IR and IL;
(3) to enable students to apply those theories to the study of the main empirical areas of IL.
It should be immediately obvious that this is not a straight-forward, ‘black-letter’ law book. It does not seek to provide a definitive account of international law. There are a number of excellent books by eminent international lawyers that attempt to do just this. In other words, this book will not provide students with a single perspective on international law, nor will it provide a fully comprehensive guide to all aspects of international law. Rather, it seeks to develop in students a working knowledge of the various perspectives that scholars have taken on international law. Full discussion of the historical, political and theoretical contexts of international law has necessitated some sacrifices in terms of the breadth of our empirical coverage. Thus, some major topics in black-letter books on international law – such as, the law of the sea, territorial sovereignty and state responsibility – are not dealt with in this book. However, we do cover those main empirical areas where, in our judgement, international law and world politics most vigorously interact; these being, use of force, human rights, international crimes, international trade and the environment.
International human rights law is mainly treaty law (a characteristic of modern international law) with some human rights principles having passed into customary international law and some having acquired the status of general principles of law. Prior to the development of international human rights treaties, a relatively small number of states provided protection of human rights through their constitutions or specific domestic laws, but even fewer provided an effective legal system of remedies. There has been a parallel growth in domestic provision and international instruments for the promotion and protection of human rights, with important cross-over between the domestic and international. The focus of this chapter is on the international law of human rights. Nonetheless, some consideration is given to domestic law as a source of law in this area and also, crucially, as a source of remedy. Indeed, a principle common to all human rights treaties is that they may only be invoked by individuals when domestic instruments have failed to provide a remedy for breaches of human rights.
In the first section we consider the content of international human rights law as rules, liberal or community values and discourse. The next section explores the reasons for state compliance with human rights law. Here we might note the curious irony of this area of international law, namely, that individual states have nothing to gain by it. Unlike use of force and trade, where legal regulation promises mutual benefit for states – peace and prosperity – human rights law restricts the sovereign right of states to do as they please in their own domain. Moreover, with few exceptions, states of all creeds, from liberal democracies to dictatorships, have signed up for human rights law. Raising the question why? Also noteworthy is the growing breadth and depth of international human rights law. The final section examines the formal, policy and social processes of change in this area of international law.
Although environmental issues have become increasingly prominent in international law and politics since 1945, the actual term ‘environment’ eludes an easy definition on which all can agree and indeed very few international legal conventions relating to the environment have attempted to define it. One succinct dictionary definition, ‘the conditions or influences under which any person or thing lives or is developed’, probably encompasses most of the specific areas that have been addressed by the many international environmental conferences that have taken place, but it lacks the kind of precision lawyers seek when framing would-be binding agreements. This is not mere pedantry because one of the many controversies in environmental politics revolves around different understandings of the term: some stressing human needs and requirements, others seeing biodiversity and preserving the ecosystem as values in themselves, independent of their utility to human beings. Similarly, varying economic, cultural, social, political and scientific approaches to environmental problems may lead to significantly different emphases. For example, population control, which some see as central to an effective long-term environmental policy, is viewed differently by different religions and cultures.
Here we consider, first, some of the conflicts and tensions that are inherent in environmental issues. Next we provide a brief historical overview of the evolution of international environmental law with the aim of illustrating how such problems impacted upon specific environmental questions. Finally we look at different theoretical perspectives on the environment with a view to reaching some tentative conclusions about the future development of environmental law.