Australian politics, society & culture

The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Lead item

The Barclays/Libor scandal "The rates in question - the London interbank offered rate, or Libor - are used to determine the borrowing rates for consumers and companies, including some $10 trillion in mortgages, student loans and credit cards. The rates are also linked to an estimated $700 trillion market in derivatives. If these rates are rigged, markets are rigged." (Also: The golden age of finance is dead)

New York Times
Finance
 
 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

General item

Will civil war hit Afghanistan when the US leaves? "'Everyone is preparing,' he said. 'It will be bloodier and longer than before, street to street. This time, everyone has more guns, more to lose. It will be the same groups, the same commanders.'"

New Yorker
Afghanistan
 

The fortunes of Xi Jinping's relatives "Xi Jinping, the man in line to be China’s next president, warned officials on a 2004 anti-graft conference call: 'Rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends and staff, and vow not to use power for personal gain.' As Xi climbed the Communist Party ranks, his extended family expanded their business interests to include minerals, real estate and mobile-phone equipment."

Bloomberg
China
 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

General item

Angola's Chinese-built ghost town "Perched in an isolated spot some 30km outside Luanda is a brand-new development of 750 eight-storey apartment buildings, a dozen schools and more than 100 retail units... There are hardly any cars and even fewer people, just dozens of repetitive rows of multi-coloured apartment buildings."

BBC
Africa
 

The 'busy' trap "Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day."

New York Times
Psychology
 

And finally

Car poolers "In the early-morning hours last winter, Alejandro Cartagena stood there, pointing his lens down at the passing cars, like a distracted spy. He was peeking into the backs of the pickup trucks." (Image gallery - full screen recommended)

New York Times
Photography