January 18, 2019

World

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"Kenya has been an al-Shabaab target for years. It seems like that will continue, even with US-backed military efforts to defeat the terrorists."

"In a bid to create new space for green industries and fossil-free energy production, greater Copenhagen wants to build an entirely new business and infrastructure district on the city’s southwestern edge."

"What France (and the rest of Europe) is witnessing is not a populist revolt but a politically incorrect one. People have had enough of being mocked and marginalised..."

"Decades after Franco’s regime, the country’s citizens continue to unearth the crimes of the past... The hope to restore historical memory is, in many ways, a response to the Franco regime’s appropriation of the past. "

"For the first time, India’s leaders have sought to redefine the country effectively as a home for South Asians that aren’t Muslims -- and they’re enshrining the distinction into law."

"They always anticipated U.S. support would run out, but President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to rapidly pull U.S. forces out of northeast Syria has nevertheless stunned the Kurds..."

"Scarcely a week into Jair Bolsonaro’s tenure as president of Brazil, protections for the environment and indigenous and LGBTQ populations have been removed..."

"The protests have combined legitimate economic grievances with the worst of far-right politics. And the French left has been happy to go along."

"America needs to back up its allies (Israel, Saudi Arabia, and potentially Turkey), and isolate its adversaries (Iran, Russia, China, Islamic State). Everything else is secondary."

"It’s almost hard to remember now that the prospect of nuclear conflict between the United States and North Korea seemed very real and imminent a year ago. At the dawning of this new year, we’re in a much different place."

"By some estimates, there are more than 100 “uncontacted tribes” in Brazil, mostly in the western reaches of the Amazon rainforest. These are indigenous peoples who live beyond the direct control, and sometimes knowledge, of the Brazilian state."

"Should we conclude that an autocratic China is sure to become the world’s dominant power in the next few decades? My answer is: no."

"Liberal democrats need to forge a new way of talking about the challenges they face. Instead of calling their opponents Nazis or fascists, liberals should focus on why the popular support for their rule remains high..."

"Almost everywhere (with a few exceptions such as Israel and South Korea), favourable views of the US are declining. Alliances are loosening and the multilateral world order is creaking."

"While the NHS has long been the subject of some scorn in America, it is also often heralded elsewhere as a shining example of how universal health care can succeed. British citizens are fiercely protective of it."

"She was swept into power in a landslide 2015 election that many around the world hoped would bring greater freedom and stability to her country. Three years later, Aung San Suu Kyi is isolated and besieged by critics."

"After Trump was elected, one reaction in global capitals was “maybe this won’t be so bad.” The resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis has sent a shock wave through American politics. But its impact overseas may be just as disruptive."

"The West owes them a debt for the price they’ve paid. Instead, a U.S. departure would threaten them with disaster... I heard frequently from Kurds about their fears of ethnic cleansing should Turkey invade."

"...although President Trump didn’t mention Iraq in his tweet, it is not a wholly separate theater from Syria as the Islamic State once ruled over territory covering much of both countries, with its operatives shuttling back and forth."

"The pact comes as Saudi Arabia, which is leading a U.S.-backed air war against a Shiite separatist group known as the Houthis, is facing increasing international and congressional pressure to pursue a peace deal."

"Donald Trump is the only President of the United States since the collapse of the Soviet Union who has been unable to “reset” the U.S. relationship with Russia."

Iran's cyber attacks on the United States are a serious threat to American security. So how come the American media is so disinterested?

"Until recently, most Americans have understood that the biggest threats to their privacy came from their own government."

"There's nothing democratic about forcing through a Brexit deal that voters in 2016 probably wouldn't have approved."

"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."

"The Yellow Vests are many things, but they are not anti-tax. They’re certainly not for the kind of smaller government championed by Macron’s government."

"In 1989 Francis Fukuyama published an essay heralding the “end of history,” by which he meant the triumph of representative democracy over all other forms of government."

"With the weakest of hands, an economy not much larger than that of Spain, and a GDP per capita several thousand dollars smaller than Malaysia, he has asserted massive negative influence over the globalized world."

Check out the Atlantic's compilation of twenty-five memorable news photographs that best capture a dramatic year in the headlines.

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JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"