The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

28th of June 2016

Pope says Church should ask forgiveness from gays for past treatment “Pope Francis said on Sunday that Christians and the Roman Catholic Church should seek forgiveness from homosexuals for the way they had treated them. Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him back to Rome from Armenia, he also said the Church should ask forgiveness for the way it has treated women, for turning a blind eye to child labor and for ‘blessing so many weapons’ in the past. In the hour-long freewheeling conversation that has become a trademark of his international travels, Francis was asked if he agreed with recent comments by a German Roman Catholic cardinal that the Church should apologize to gays.”


24th of June 2016

Pound plummets after early results give boost to Brexit campaign “Britain could be on the verge of pulling out of the European Union after a surge in support for Brexit confounded pollsters and led to the sharpest one-day drop in the pound since the global financial crisis. In early results the Leave campaign outperformed expectations across the country and in particular the North-east. In areas where Remain were expected to do well their margin of victory was smaller than expected … What will happen today and in the days ahead? In the short term we are in for a nasty financial shock. The pound is going to slump – and anyone going on holiday will find it far more expensive than it would have been if they’d gone last week. Shares will also fall – as will property prices (particularly in London). But after the shock may come a reassessment – the world won’t have ended and people will realize that the process of extraction is long, not necessarily straight-forward and certainly not binary.” (Also: Live referendum results and The latest forecasts and The invention of Great Britain and Britain’s rocky marriage with the EU)

The Independent

23rd of June 2016

Sombre mood in divided Britain as referendum on EU membership looms “A divided Britain will soon vote in a referendum on the nation’s European Union membership under a cloud of grief for murdered politician Jo Cox. Polls are on a knife-edge, with final campaigning underway for the vote that could see the UK leave the EU after 43 years … Prime Minister David Cameron, who is pro-EU, is doing his final campaigning, with the fate of his leadership potentially hanging on the result of the referendum. Mr Cameron called the referendum under pressure from his Conservative Party. ‘If we leave we will diminish our country and our ability to get things done in the world,’ he told supporters in Bristol in western England.” (Also: Australia’s complex history with Britain and the EU and French people are handing out croissants in London to persuade Britain to stay)


22nd of June 2016

Kenbi land returned to Aboriginal owners after 37-year fight “A crowd of several hundred, including Malcolm Turnbull, sat at Mandorah facing Darwin harbour, the city’s skyline in the distance. For 37 years the people of this land have looked across to the seat of power of the Northern Territory government, which for four decades fought against them and their rights to their country. In April an agreement was finally reached. On Tuesday the title deeds to the 55,000 hectares of the Kenbi land claim, covering the Cox peninsula on the western side of Darwin harbour, were officially handed back. At almost four decades since it was officially lodged, the Kenbi claim was one of the longest running in Australian land rights history. It has been particularly fraught, with three challenges in the federal court and two in the high court. It was awarded to just six individuals, known as the Tommy Lyons group, and a separate group of Larrakia people have maintained their claims of ownership and unhappiness at the decision.”

The Guardian

21st of June 2016

Iraq refugees languish outside Fallujah “Iraq’s success in uprooting Islamic State militants from Fallujah has fed a humanitarian crisis with some of the more than 80,000 people who fled the city going without shelter and sufficient water amid 115-degree temperatures and sandstorms, aid agencies said Monday. In four makeshift tent cities housing the displaced, there is only sporadic electricity and a shortage of latrines, the agencies said. At the Habaniya camp west of Fallujah, health care workers said they are treating about 1,200 people a day suffering from malnutrition and other ailments. ‘The conditions we are seeing in the camps are miserable, the scenes apocalyptic,’ said Nasr Muflahi, the Iraq director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, one of the main aid groups helping Fallujah refugees. Since the Iraqi government declared Fallujah all but liberated on Friday, some 30,000 people have surged out of the city and into the four camps. Those camps were already brimming with thousands of families who escaped the battle that kicked off in late May.”

The Wall Street Journal

20th of June 2016

Trauma expert lifts lid on ‘atrocity’ of Australia’s detention regime “Paul Stevenson has spent 40 years helping people make sense of their lives in the aftermath of disaster, of terrorist attacks, bombings and mass murders, of landslides, fires and tsunamis. He says the Australian government is deliberately inflicting upon people the worst trauma he has ever seen … Six boys, held on Nauru without parents, tried to kill themselves en masse, using the same razor blade. One woman attempted to kill herself seven times in five weeks, threatened to kill her own daughter, and had to be sedated to stop her repeatedly bashing her head into the ground. A woman, held on Nauru with her son, but facing permanent separation from her husband in Australia, carved his name into her chest with a razor because it ‘releases the feelings in my heart and I feel better’. An asylum seeker carved open his own stomach in protest at not being allowed to see or speak with his cousin, who was standing on a roof, threatening to jump. A three-year-old boy was allegedly molested by a guard, but his mother was too scared of reprisals to report it until months later.”

The Guardian

17th of June 2016

A lab-grown diamond is forever “There is an unusual number of shoppers huddling near a particular window one spring morning. Several women who are looking to buy earrings are astonished to see a strange sign that reads, ‘Lab-Grown Diamonds!’ ‘Why would anyone buy such a thing?’ Sharon, a mother of four, asks. The friends she’s with, all of whom declined to share their names, nod in agreement. Still, they can’t help but admit that the so-called ‘lab-grown’ stones on display look exactly like the rest of the diamonds in the case. The women walk away, but not before writing down the name of the company … Ariel Baruch takes a 1.5-carat synthetic diamond that's set in a ring and holds it under a lamp. The clear, smooth facets sparkle in the light. The stone is beautiful. ‘There’s no way to look at it and know it’s not natural,’ Baruch says. ‘Not with the naked eye, not with a loupe, and not with a standard microscope.’”


16th of June 2016

Hundreds arrested in Venezuela after latest unrest over food “Venezuelan security forces have arrested at least 400 people after the latest bout of looting and food riots in the crisis-hit OPEC member country, local officials said on Wednesday. Another death was also reported in the state of Merida from unrest which is breaking out sporadically across the South American OPEC nation. On Tuesday, violence engulfed the eastern Caribbean coastal town of Cumana as looters swarmed through dozens of shops and security forces struggled to maintain control. There were unconfirmed reports of several deaths … With desperate crowds of people chanting ‘We want food!’ protests and melees at shops have spread across Venezuela in recent weeks, fueled by severe shortages. Three people were shot dead in separate incidents last week, with a policeman and a soldier arrested in two cases.” (Also: The end of the state monopoly on legitimate violence in Venezuela)


15th of June 2016

Florida killer’s motives blur on closer scrutiny “Orlando, like previous attacks, has prompted an obsessive search for clues that might allow us to place this violence within a familiar context. Donald Trump, by citing ‘radical Islam’, urges a narrative of clashing civilizations and war on terror. Barack Obama, meanwhile, has focused his outrage on what he sees as the laxity of America’s gun laws. And gay rights groups have placed the attack within a long history of homophobic violence. The question of Omar Mateen’s motivation has ramifications that go well beyond Orlando. Those who seek stricter gun control have an incentive to emphasize his history of domestic violence, threatening statements, emotional problems and contact with the FBI. Those who desire a stronger American response to Islamist terrorism are motivated to see evidence for his ties to the Islamic State, the extremists he cited in a 911 call as the attack was underway. And for gay rights advocates who yearn for recognition of the scope of their persecution, Mr Mateen’s targeting of a gay club during gay pride month is paramount.”

The New York Times

14th of June 2016

Medieval cities hidden under jungle in Cambodia revealed using lasers “Unprecedented new details of medieval cities hidden under jungle in Cambodia near Angkor Wat have been revealed using lasers, archaeologists say, shedding new light on the civilisation behind the world’s largest religious complex. While the research has been going on for several years, the new findings uncover the sheer scale of the Khmer Empire’s urban sprawl and temple complexes to be significantly bigger than was previously thought … Angkor Wat is considered one of the ancient wonders of the world. It was constructed from the early to mid 1100s by King Suryavarman II at the height of the Khmer Empire’s political and military power and was among the largest pre-industrial cities in the world. But scholars had long believed there was far more to the empire than just the Angkor complex.” (Also: Archaeologists discover massive Petra monument that could be 2150 years old and ‘Monkey archaeology’ reveals macaques’ Stone Age culture)