The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

10th of June 2016

Four new element names for the periodic table “The periodic table will soon have four new names added to its lower right-hand corner. Element 113 is set to be named nihonium (Nh); element 115, moscovium (Mc); element 117, tennessine (Ts); and element 118, oganesson (Og), according to proposals outlined on 8 June by chemistry’s governing body, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The laboratories that were credited with the discovery of the elements — in Russia, the United States and Japan — got to propose the names, under the constraint that elements can be named only after one of their chemical or physical properties, a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, or a scientist.”


9th of June 2016

Dozens wounded as Papua New Guinea police fire on protesters “Dozens of people were wounded in Papua New Guinea on Wednesday after police opened fire on a student demonstration in the capital and riots erupted across the country, but officials said earlier reports of up to four dead were incorrect. A groundswell of political unrest in recent weeks has surged in the country, just to Australia’s north, amid calls for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to resign over corruption allegations. Students and officials said police fired on the public and used tear gas to disperse crowds during a protest at the University of PNG’s Waigani campus in Port Moresby. Protests were later reported in the PNG highland cities of Goroka and Mt. Hagen, and in Lae on the north coast.”


8th of June 2016

The Great Barrier Reef: A catastrophe laid bare “It was the smell that really got to diver Richard Vevers. The smell of death on the reef. ‘I can’t even tell you how bad I smelt after the dive – the smell of millions of rotting animals.’ His job these days is rather morbid. He travels the world documenting dead and dying coral reefs, sometimes gathering photographs just ahead of their death, too. With the world now in the midst of the longest and probably worst global coral bleaching event in history, it’s boom time for Vevers. Even with all that experience, he’d never seen anything like the devastation he saw last month around Lizard Island in the northern third of Australia’s spectacular Great Barrier Reef.”

The Guardian

7th of June 2016

The road to Rio: What is the lasting cost of hosting the Olympics? “Conventional wisdom has it that London's hosting of the 2012 Olympics was a success: The games were delivered under budget, at a cost of 8.7 billion pounds ($12.7 billion), saw U.K. athletes deliver outstanding performances and, according to a 2013 government assessment, had a positive economic impact. The U.K. government claims that 70,000 new jobs were created as a result of hosting the games, and £28 billion ($40.5 billion) to £41 billion ($59 billion) in gross value will be added to the British economy by 2020.Other recent host cities cannot say the same. Athens is littered with decaying relics from its 2004 games, which ended up costing between $14-$15 billion — massively over their $4.6 billion budget — helping bankrupt the country. Montreal’s 1976 games ran $1.4 billion over budget, leaving the city with a debt it took 30 years to pay off.  Sydney’s games in 2000, which cost $4.8 billion, were found in a later study to have reduced Australian household consumption.”

The International Business Times

6th of June 2016

Residents evacuated, coastlines eroded as wild storms hit NSW “Residents were being evacuated from low-lying areas around Sydney on Sunday night and huge seas were threatening to engulf coastal homes as wild storms battered the state for a second day. From Lismore in the north to Wollongong in the south, streets and homes were flooded as torrential rain from an east coast low dumped about 150 millimetres in Sydney over the weekend and wind gusts of up to 120km/h brought down power lines and trees and lifted roofs. Workers in parts of Sydney are being encouraged to consider working from home on Monday as the state prepares to begin a massive clean-up.”

The Sydney Morning Herald

3rd of June 2016

JK Rowling just can’t let Harry Potter go “JK Rowling always said that the seventh Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be the last in the series, and so far she has kept to her word. But though she’s written many new things in the intervening nine years, including four adult novels, she’s never been able to put Harry to rest, or to leave him alone. What’s an author to do when she once seemed to be done? Taking an approach that some fans love and others do not, Ms Rowling has never made a secret of her continued immersion in Potter-world. Over the years, she has regularly interjected new elements into the old stories, sometimes through sudden Twitter pronouncements, sometimes by other means. She also regularly produces fresh ancillary material — new stories, new elaborations — on her Pottermore website, most recently a series of fictional essays about the history of magic in North America. And now comes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play in two full-length parts.”

The New York Times

2nd of June 2016

Where the world’s slaves live “Slavery is illegal in every country; Mauritania became the last to outlaw it, abolishing the practice in 1981 but only criminalizing it in 2007. But it still exists in every country, and is common in some poor countries with oppressive governments or few human-rights protections. North Korea has the most people enslaved in proportion to population, with 4.4 percent of the country’s population living in conditions of slavery. That equals about 1.1 million people out of 25 million. Uzbekistan is next with 4 percent of its population, followed by Cambodia (1.6 percent), India, (1.4 percent), and Qatar (1.4 percent). Women and girls are forced into sex work and marriages in nearly every country. There are as many as 20,000 North Korean workers in Russia who are required to hand over nearly all of their wages to the North Korean government.”

The Atlantic

1st of June 2016

Dozens in Russia imprisoned for social media likes, reposts “Anastasia Bubeyeva shows a screenshot on her computer of a picture of a toothpaste tube with the words: ‘Squeeze Russia out of yourself!’ For sharing this picture on a social media site with his 12 friends, her husband was sentenced this month to more than two years in prison. As the Kremlin claims unequivocal support among Russians for its policies both at home and abroad, a crackdown is underway against ordinary social media users who post things that run against the official narrative. Here the Kremlin's interests coincide with those of investigators, who are anxious to report high conviction rates for extremism. The Kremlin didn't immediately comment on the issue. At least 54 people were sent to prison for hate speech last year, most of them for sharing and posting things online.”

Associated Press

31st of May 2016

Chad’s ex-ruler convicted of crimes against humanity “Hissene Habre has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison at a landmark trial in Senegal. The judge convicted him of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his rule from 1982 to 1990. Victims and families of those killed cheered and embraced each other in the courtroom after the verdict was given. It was the first time an African Union-backed court had tried a former ruler for human rights abuses. Habre, who received strong backing from the US while in power, has been given 15 days to appeal … The ex-president denied accusations that he ordered the killing of 40,000 people during his rule from 1982 to 1990. His critics dubbed him ‘Africa’s Pinochet’ because of the atrocities committed during his rule. Survivors had recounted gruesome details of the torture carried out by Habre’s feared secret police. One of the most notorious detention centres in the capital N’Djamena was a converted swimming pool. Witnesses said victims endured electric shocks, near-asphyxia, cigarette burns and having gas squirted into their eyes.”


30th of May 2016

Three shipwrecks as migrant crisis flares on Mediterranean “First came a battered, blue-decked vessel that flipped over on Wednesday as terrified migrants plunged into the Mediterranean Sea. The next day, a flimsy craft capsized with hundreds of people aboard. And on Friday, still another boat sank into the deceptively placid waters of the Mediterranean. Three days and three sunken ships are again confronting Europe with the horrors of its refugee crisis. At least 700 people from the three boats are believed to have drowned, in one of the deadliest weeks in the Mediterranean in recent memory. The latest drownings — which would push the death toll for the year to more than 2,000 people — are a reminder of the cruel paradox of the Mediterranean calendar: As summer approaches with blue skies, warm weather and tranquil waters prized by tourists, human trafficking along the North African coastline traditionally kicks into a higher gear.”

The New York Times