Summary of “The map we need if we want to think about how global living conditions are changing”

If we want to show where the world’s people are we need a population cartogram, a geographical presentation of the world where the size of the countries are not drawn according to the distribution of land, but according to the distribution of people.
As the size of the population rather than the size of the territory is shown in this map you can see some big differences when you compare it to the standard geographical map we’re most familiar with.
If you want to follow what is happening to the world you have to keep track of these two countries: More than a third of the world population – 36.2% – live in India and China.
Population growth in Asia has been rapid in the last decades: The population of Asia has tripled in size since 1950.
While some countries in Asia have already reached the last stage of the demographic transition some others still have rapid population growth ahead. The fertility rate in India has fallen from 6 children per woman in the 1960s to 2.35 children today, but population momentum means that population growth will continue for another 4 decades.
According to the UN’s population projection the population of India is expected to reach 1.68 billion in 2060 and the country is then expected to be the most populous country in the world.
Another way to show where the world population lives is to show the population density of each country on a geographical world map, as you see below.
While a geographical map is helpful if you want to find your way around the world, a population cartogram is the representation that we need if we want to know where our fellow humans are at home.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In Cyberwar, There are No Rules – Foreign Policy”

According to U.S. census data, there are currently 87 people in the United States named Sarah Connor.
The U.S. government has fumbled on cybersecurity, outsourcing much of that area of conflict to the private sector in accordance with the Trump administration’s most recent National Security Strategy-leaving the country exposed to foreign attack.
That’s a problem because cyberwar won’t be waged with the informed participation of much of the U.S. technology sector, as the recent revolts at Google over AI contracts with the U.S. Defense Department and at Microsoft over office software contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement demonstrate.
If a country or terrorist group decided to take out a sitting U.S. senator undergoing robotically assisted surgery and then covered its tracks, the perpetrator’s identity would be hard to pinpoint, and there would be no clear U.S. legal precedent for classifying the hacking of hospital equipment as an assassination or an act of war.
Part of the problem with defining and evaluating acts of cyberwarfare against the United States is that U.S. law is unclear and unsettled when it comes to defining what constitutes an illegal cyberact as opposed to normal computer activity by information security researchers.
Any strong defense against cyberattacks should follow the same principles used for basic U.S. infrastructure design: strategists plan, technicians execute, and experts examine.
In the U.S. case, former President Barack Obama responded by declaring a month before he left office that the United States would respond at a time and place of its choosing.
Despite the consensus among experts and intelligence services that Russia tampered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it is proving extremely difficult to gain nonpartisan consensus that Russian-targeted advertising purchases on social media constitute hostile acts by a foreign power.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Is College in America So Expensive?”

The business of providing an education is so expensive because college is different from other things that people buy, argue Feldman and his colleague Robert Archibald in their 2011 book, Why Does College Cost So Much? College is a service, for one thing, not a product, which means it doesn’t get cheaper along with changes in manufacturing technology.
College is a service delivered mostly by workers with college degrees-whose salaries have risen more dramatically than those of low-skilled service workers over the past several decades.
College is not the only service to have gotten wildly more expensive in recent decades, Feldman and Archibald point out.
The new data show that U.S. colleges currently have a slightly lower ratio of students to teachers than the average for the developed world-another metric favored in college rankings.
“Ironically, these students are often paying more to go to a nonselective four-year college or even a community college than they would pay to go to the most selective, most resource-rich institutions in the United States,” as Hoxby told NPR.Meanwhile, when it comes to health care, low-income Americans tend to be less familiar with the concepts of deductibles, coinsurance rates, and provider networks, according to a variety of studies, which makes it extremely difficult to choose a health-care plan.
Ultimately, college is expensive in the U.S. for the same reason MRIs are expensive: There is no central mechanism to control price increases.
Over a lifetime, people with bachelor’s degrees earn more than half a million dollars more than people with no college degree in the U.S. In fact, no other country rewards a college degree as richly as the United States, and few other countries punish people so relentlessly for not having one.
This convoluted, complicated, inconsistent system continues to exist, and continues to be so expensive because college in America is still worth the price.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Nordic countries might not be as happy as you think”

Nordic countries like Finland and Norway may regularly come out on top of world happiness indexes for wellbeing year-on-year – but new research shows the happiness is far from universal.
A report authored by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen aims to provide a more nuanced picture of life in the Nordic nations – suggesting their reputations as utopias for happiness are masking significant problems for some parts of the population, especially young people.
The world’s happiest – and least happy – countries in 2018Happiest Least happy 1.
Their data found these problems being reported by young people in particular.
The authors say that in Nordic countries high incomes protected people against feeling they were suffering or struggling.
Ethnic minorities living in Nordic countries were less happy.
Very religious people were more likely to be happier.
So while 3.9% of people in the Nordic region may report scores so low they are classed as “Suffering” – that level is as high as 26.9% in Russia and 17% in France.

The orginal article.

Summary of “”Fake News” and Unrest in Nicaragua”

The strife in Nicaragua began in April, after President Daniel Ortega announced cuts to social-security benefits, along with increases in worker contributions.
In Managua, Ortega supporters threw Molotov cocktails into the house of a family that had refused to allow police snipers onto their roof.
Ortega denied responsibility, saying that the paramilitaries were an invention of the media, or were aligned with his enemies, or were merely local people defending themselves.
Ortega’s denials were similarly impossible to believe.
Videos circulating on social media captured paramilitaries working in concert with uniformed police; one showed Ortega, in a crowd of officers in riot gear, embracing a masked man.
Ortega retains support from the police and other government employees, who depend on his good will for an income, and he is also popular among working-class people who still believe in the inclusive revolutionary message.
As Ortega and his supporters responded to criticism, they called to mind Steve Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, who said, “The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit.” On July 18th, the Organization of American States convened an emergency meeting and overwhelmingly passed a resolution denouncing the violence in Nicaragua.
Ortega’s foreign minister, Denis Moncada, rejected the measure as “Illegal.” In his telling, the unrest was caused by a global conspiracy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Norway’s hidden scandal”

The family says Leen was never physically punished – and they believe the allegation of violence was taken particularly seriously because they were immigrants to Norway.
One journalist has calculated that children with a foreign mother are four times more likely than other children in Norway to be forcibly taken from their families.
Reidar Hjermann, the former Children’s Ombudsman, says no-one should be judged to be violent without evidence.
He also says: “When a family comes to Norway with a mother and father who have themselves been brought up with violence, then I think we should assume that we need to go to help this family to understand that where they come from, physical punishment is rather common, but in Norway it is absolutely forbidden.”
Katrin Koch, the head of the Child Expert Commission which the disgraced psychiatrist was a member of, says one reason for the disproportionately high number of immigrant families affected by care orders might be that Norway is “Quite a conformist country in many ways.”
“Another point would be that Norway is a rich country – and the richer you are, the less consideration you have to give to survival issues, and the more consideration you can give to an optimalisation of how children are to be raised.”
The Ministry of Children says it’s bringing in legal changes that will strengthen children’s and family rights.
“I’m at a loss for words, for the outrage,” she says, “Knowing other parents who have had lesser allegations and have lost children.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ravenous for Meat, China Faces a Climate Quandary”

As the Chinese appetite for meat expands, the booming nation is faced with a quandary: How to satisfy the surging demand for meat without undermining the country’s commitment to curbing greenhouse gas emissions and combating global warming – goals that have been expressly incorporated into national economic, social development, and long-term planning under the Xi Jinping administration.
Experts at the advocacy group WildAid say that average annual meat consumption in China is on track to increase by another 60 pounds by 2030.
“One could argue that Chinese just want to enjoy the kind of life Westerners have for years. In the end, per capita meat consumption in China is still half that of the United States,” said Pan Genxing, director of the Institute of Resources, Environment, and Ecosystem of Agriculture at Nanjing Agricultural University.
One thing is for sure: how China will deal with soaring demand for meat is of paramount importance to both the nation and the rest of the world.
“These calculations do not include land-use change,” Richard Waite, an associate at the World Resources Institute’s Food Program, told me by telephone from Washington, “But since meat production – especially beef production – takes up a significant amount of land, growing demand for meat in China would make for more forests converted to agriculture or pasture and also increase pressure on forests elsewhere.”
The Chinese have also been importing meat from Australia, Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, and other countries, making China the world’s single largest market for meat.
For a country where older generations “Still vividly remember not even being able to afford meat a few decades ago,” he said, “Meals featuring high amounts of meat are seen as a very good thing.”
Now, Haft said, China needs to mount a similar effort to reduce meat consumption.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Venezuela Struck It Poor – Foreign Policy”

At the time, Venezuela was eager to diversify beyond just oil and avoid the so-called resource curse, a common phenomenon in which easy money from commodities such as oil and gold leads governments to neglect other productive parts of their economies.
While there’s no question Maduro is partially culpable, to fully understand how a country blessed with the world’s biggest oil endowment could end up so crushingly poor requires going much further back.
That year, to gain full national control over the oil fields, Caracas banished foreign oil firms and created a new, state-run oil monopoly called Petróleos de Venezuela.
“PDVSA was one of the best. They really knew how to operate,” said one executive at an international oil company with long experience in Venezuela.
“During the highest oil boom in history, when every other country in the world increased investment, Venezuela did not, and production kept declining,” Monaldi said.
The one relative bright spot in Venezuela’s oil industry today is the superheavy Orinoco fields, jointly operated with foreign firms since the 1990s-era opening of the sector.
Despite the collapse of its oil industry, Venezuela continues to buy foreign oil to ship, at a loss, to the regime’s ideological cousins in Cuba – a bitter legacy of Chávez’s plan to use Venezuela’s oil riches to buy friends in the neighborhood.
The only way Venezuela, which is broke and stripped of talent, can possibly fix its oil industry today is by relying more on foreign companies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When is a nation not a nation? Somaliland’s dream of independence”

When I arrived at the airport, a customs officer in a Somaliland uniform checked my Somaliland visa, issued by the Somaliland consulate in Washington DC. At the airport, there was a Somaliland flag.
During my visit, I paid Somaliland shillings to drivers of cabs with Somaliland plates who took me to the offices of ministers of the Somaliland government.
On 26 June 1960, the former Protectorate of Somaliland became fully independent from British rule, its independence recognised by 35 countries around the world, including the US. The next day, its new legislature passed a law approving a union with the south.
Although it’s true that Somaliland voluntarily erased the border with Somalia in 1960, Somalilanders don’t consider that decision irreversible.
If these countries couldn’t make their marriages work, why, Somalilanders ask, should Somaliland be stuck in a loveless alliance?
The argument against Somaliland’s independence rests largely on factors beyond the country’s control.
Somaliland officials are used to hearing that if their independence were recognised, it would set off a domino effect for nationalist movements, destabilising the continent.
In 2007, a US defence official described Somaliland to the Washington Post as “An entity that works”, and said that in the Pentagon’s view “Somaliland should be independent”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Has Greece finally escaped the grip of catastrophe?”

The EU had stood by its partner – whose links with ancient Greece played an indisputable role in Athens’s admission in 1981 as a member of what was the European Economic Community – and economic Armageddon had been averted.
In global financial history no country has received as much money as Greece.
From 120% of GDP at the start of the crisis, the ratio of debt-to-economic output now hovers around 180%, by far the highest in the EU. “The country was bankrupt in 2010, but the creditors pretended it was a cashflow problem, when really Greece needed a restructuring of its debt early on,” says Professor Loukas Tsoukalis, who presides over the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, Eliamep.
The rout in 1922 led to the loss of territory formerly ceded to Greece and a major exchange of ethnic Greek and Turkish populations.
Worsening demographics have not helped: after Bulgaria, Greece has the lowest fertility rate in the EU, with the population dwindling by almost 3% as a result of emigration and fewer births during the crisis.
A deal, unveiled last month, giving Athens the ability to extend payments on its accumulated €320bn debt pile by a decade, has provided much-needed breathing space to modernise the economy but is widely seen as inadequate if Greece is to avoid further crisis down the line.
“The crisis is something that happened to Greece – it didn’t happen to me. I set up Manifest in 2003 after working as a salesman in another company but it’s only in recent years that our turnover has soared. When others were on their knees, getting scared and pulling out, we moved in and filled the gap.”
“For a third of my life, Greece has been in crisis. I should have got used to it but my parents died early and I’ve had no economic support. Before it began, I had my own car and rented a flat and was waitressing six nights a week.”

The orginal article.