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Archive for January, 2014

Nigeria Tested by Rapid Rise in Population

Monday, January 20th, 2014

In a quarter-century, at the rate Nigeria is growing, 300 million people — a population about as big as that of the present-day United States — will live in a country roughly the size of Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Nigeria’s unemployment rate is nearly 50 percent for people in urban areas ages 15 to 24 — driving crime and discontent.

Nigeria made contraceptives free last year, and officials are promoting smaller families as a key to economic salvation, holding up the financial gains in nations like Thailand as inspiration.

Nigeria, already the world’s sixth most populous nation with 167 million people

Muriana Taiwo, 45, explained that it was “God’s will” for him to have 12 children by his three wives, calling each child a “blessing” because so many of his own siblings had died.

Photoessay here

The Disturbing Relevance of World War I

Monday, January 20th, 2014

It has now been 100 years since the outbreak of World War I, but the European catastrophe remains relevant today. As the Continent looks back this year, old wounds could once again be rubbed raw. (from Der Speigel)

PDF Version of the article

Reading resposne questions

WWI Maps

Monday, January 20th, 2014

Graphic: States and mandates formed out of the ruins of World War I.

This Latest Chinese Censorship News Is Important, and Bad

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

If the front page story today in the NYT is right, Bloomberg has made a craven decision that calls its larger credibility into question. According to the Timesarticle, Bloomberg managers in New York decided to squash stories by their (aggressive) China-based reporters for fear of angering the Chinese government. The less-damaging rationale for this decision is Bloomberg’s concern that its reporters might be kicked out of China. The more-damaging suspicion is that the company was worried that it would lose subscribers in China for its cash-cow Bloomberg financial terminals.

This is part of a much more widespread pattern of making it hard for international journalists to get into China.

This is not the way a confident, big-time government behaves.

The fates of Putin’s enemies

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Russian anti-corruption blogger and opposition politician Alexei Navalny has been jailed for five years for fraud, after a trial he says was politically motivated.

Mr Navalny could now be barred from running in the Moscow mayoral election set for September. He also joins a growing list of opponents of President Vladimir Putin who have ended up on the wrong side of the law or in exile, or have met their deaths in suspicious circumstances.

Scottish independence: Referendum White Paper unveiled

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

The 670-page White Paper promised a “revolution” in social policy, with childcare at its heart.

The launch came ahead of next September’s independence referendum.

Alistair Darling, leader of the campaign to keep the Union, branded the document a “work of fiction, full of meaningless assertions”.

On 18 September, Scots voters will be asked the yes/no question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Launching the paper – titled Scotland’s Future: Your guide to an independent Scotland – in Glasgow, Mr Salmond said: “This is the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published, not just for Scotland but for any prospective independent nation.???

The Vietnamese tribesmen who fought alongside American Special Forces

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

The indigenous Montagnards, recruited into service by the American Special Forces in Vietnam’s mountain highlands, defended villages against the Viet Cong and served as rapid response forces. The Special Forces and the Montagnards—each tough, versatile, and accustomed to living in wild conditions—formed an affinity for each other. In the testimony of many veterans, their working relationship with the Montagnards, nicknamed Yards, was a bright spot in a confusing and frustrating war.

The bond between America’s elite fighters and their indigenous partners has persisted into the present, but despite the best efforts of vets, the Montagnards have suffered greatly in the postwar years, at least in part because they cast their lot with the U.S. Army. In a war with more than its share of tragedies, this one is less often told but is crucial to understanding the conflict and its toll.

Wandering Through a Roman Emperor’s (Digitally) Reconstructed Villa

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Hadrian’s digs, 2,000 years later

I Got Myself Arrested So I Could Look Inside the Justice System

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

A former prosecutor fights the law and lets it win. Courageous, and kind of stupid. But informative.

The Russia Left Behind

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

This is tremendous longform journalism on Russia. For better and worse, this is the future of e-journalism. It is also very informative about Russia