OPINION: Is the world really becoming less violent?

There is a growing consensus among scholars that rates of violence in Western countries are steadily declining, and have been doing so for centuries.

The argument that we are now a less violent world is compelling, but it raises more questions than it provides answers. In Australia, while murder rates have been steady for decades, assaults are on the rise. More young women are appearing before the courts than ever before for violent offences, and domestic violence has seen a resurgence despite the media awareness surrounding the issue.

Is the end of violence possible?

OPINION: Here’s the skinny on fasting for weight loss – the 5:2 diet

The “new” weight-loss strategy known as the 5:2 diet has been receiving much attention in the media since the book The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting – Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer was launched late last year. Intermittent fasting is reported to be effective among those who have used it for weight loss.

But is it a viable weight-loss option? Does it live up to its hype?