November 19, 2018

World

"Military relations in the transatlantic alliance are humming. Yet an intangible but palpable crisis is shaking the foundations of NATO – and it has brought the organization to a moment of reckoning."

"You are being watched. Right now, cookies are tracking which websites you visit and what you click on while you’re there. Your smartphone is logging your location."

"The erosion of academic freedom on China’s campuses is directly linked with the increasingly repressive political environment outside the universities. This dynamic is quite clear with respect to labor issues."

"When future historians try to understand how Britain ended up with a choice between chaos and becoming a satellite of the European Union, one question will stump them. Were these people telling deliberate lies or were they merely ignorant?"

"The bear market in crude has vastly different implications for the U.S. and euro zone. Also, fun with emerging markets and (in)efficient markets."

"The close of World War I was supposed to end the world’s reliance on arms—and empire. But on the centenary, the Middle East offers proof that this hasn’t happened."

"The HDI is like a country’s report card... However, it still suffers from real flaws. There have been numerous attempts to do its job better, including one that we published on Nov. 6."

"The news about U.S.-China relations has been decidedly negative lately... But now, amid the trade war and continuing tensions in the South China Sea, there are glimmers of hope for a thaw."

"Brazil’s democratic institutions are resilient, capable of weathering the Bolsonaro storm and curtailing some of his worst vices, and in the “Tropical Trump” analogy frenzy that has accompanied Bolsonaro’s victory, too many facts are being ignored."

"The forces of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have ushered in a new economy and a new form of globalization, both of which demand new forms of governance to safeguard the public good."

"The U.S. is rising to world energy leadership at precisely the moment its abundance is most needed. America’s new energy bounty gives us leverage to hold Iran accountable as never before."

"As unrest generated by the Arab Spring shifted power away from Arab republics to richer, more stable Gulf monarchies, leaders throughout the region dropped the pretense that they would ever bow, or bend, to the popular will..."

"While civilizational collapse may still be a long way off, Western democracies face an erosion of the consensus of what constitutes the larger national community, and hence why its members should rally to defend it in an emergency."

"The country's new president wants to increase development in the Amazon rainforest, which absorbs a massive amount of carbon emissions."

"When scholars of international relations predict that the 2000s will be a “Chinese century”, they are not being premature. Although America remains the lone superpower, China has already replaced it as the driver of global change."

Brazil, the world's fourth-largest democracy, has just elected a neofascist to be its president. But while the global left is condemning Bolsonaro, Brazil seems united behind him.

"China is accused of locking up hundreds of thousands of Muslims without trial in its western region of Xinjiang... Now a BBC investigation has found important new evidence of the reality."

"It is reasonable for Americans to have security concerns about immigration. But as a scholar of forced migration, I believe it’s also important to consider why migrants travel in groups: their own safety."

"...there is a more fundamental question which, so far as I can tell, generally goes unexamined in our immigration conversations: Why is there no right to live where you please?"

"Can the Trump administration unite a deeply divided country behind an expensive, risky and ambitious foreign-policy agenda to block the objectives of America’s determined rivals? And can its strategy work?"

"Now I’m starting to wonder how I can go at all. And I’m also wondering why more Muslims don’t question the powers that control our most sacred site—and how the Saudis have already twisted it to their own political and financial ends."

"Poland is voting in local elections that will test the conservative ruling party’s grip on public opinion as it rends the country away from its European Union allies."

Bhutan is famed for its isolated location, stunning scenery and devotion to the principle of “Gross National Happiness,” which seeks to balance economic growth with other forms of contentment.

In Jamal Khashoggi's final column for the Washington Post, the late columnist makes an impassioned plea for freedom of expression in the Arab world. "Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate."

“The Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 left a ring of ghost villages as residents fled… now people are choosing to live in the crumbling houses on the edge of the exclusion zone.”

“The great sticking point—around the Irish border—has always been there.”

“America’s economy, thanks to Trump’s deep cuts in taxes and regulations, is powering ahead.”

“Some Catholic leaders are using the sex abuse crisis to unseat Pope Francis.”

“You buy a purse at Walmart. There’s a note inside from a ‘Chinese prisoner.’ Now what?”

“Conservatives win in Ontario and Quebec and may soon lead as many as six of 10 provinces.”

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JJ Best Of The Web

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"With the midterm election a week-plus behind us — well, mostly behind us, as Democrats continue to try to steal seats in certain locations — it is time to take a look ahead at what we are facing over the next two years."

"Leaving the ultra-Orthodox community is nothing new in Israel. Everyone, secular or religious, knows someone who used to be on, but is now “off the derech.” But the phenomenon hasn’t been well studied."

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"While the revelation of an apparent indictment against Julian Assange sets an ominous precedent for news organizations, it also serves as a reminder of his group’s stark transformation."

"Through classes and workshops, men across the United States are attempting to unlearn "toxic masculinity"—for society and for themselves."

"While many books experience sweeping popularity, Ferrante’s novels are part of a subgroup of pop culture that compels people to travel. Tour groups like Looking for Lila and Ferrante Fever Naples have popped up across Naples..."

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"Humanity is on the verge of a weighty achievement. On Friday, representatives of more than 60 nations will convene in Versailles, France, to approve a new definition for the kilogram."

"Be connected, be still, and be satisfied -- my 3 essential principles of Shabbat do more for me than all the halacha I learned to be a rabbi."