The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

13th of May 2016

Venezuela is falling apart “In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country like it outside of war. Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses. But why? It’s not that the country lacked money.”

The Atlantic

12th of May 2016

US to switch on European missile shield despite Russian alarm “The United States’ European missile defense shield goes live on Thursday almost a decade after Washington proposed protecting NATO from Iranian rockets and despite Russian warnings that the West is threatening the peace in central Europe. Amid high Russia-West tension, US and NATO officials will declare operational the shield at a remote air base in Deveselu, Romania, after years of planning, billions of dollars in investment and failed attempts to assuage Russian concerns that the shield could be used against Moscow.”


11th of May 2016

Global warming milestone about to be passed and there’s no going back “Within the next couple of weeks, a remote part of north-western Tasmania is likely to grab headlines around the world as a major climate change marker is passed. The aptly named Cape Grim monitoring site jointly run by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will witness the first baseline reading of 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, researchers predict. ‘Once it’s over [400 ppm], it won’t go back,’ said Paul Fraser, dubbed by CSIRO as the Air Man of Cape Grim, and now a retired CSIRO fellow.” 

The Age

10th of May 2016

Meet the new president of the Philippines “On the campaign trail, Rodrigo Duterte said he would dump the bodies of criminals in Manila Bay if he were elected president, promising to end crime in the country in six months by killing up to 100,000 more criminals. “All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you,” he said this month … While he has run almost entirely a law-and-order campaign, a political opponent accused him of not declaring $51 million, allegedly accumulated from the salaries of 11,000 government workers that do not exist. He has been criticized heavily on the campaign trail for kissing women and being a womanizer, yet he has been a consistent advocate for women’s rights while he was mayor. He’s joked about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary in 1988 in his city, but he also has said he was sexually abused by a priest when he was younger.”

The Atlantic

9th of May 2016

Sadiq Khan becomes first Muslim mayor of London after bitter campaign “Sadiq Khan has been elected as London's first Muslim mayor, with the UK Labour Party candidate securing victory over Conservative challenger Zac Goldsmith. The victory was confirmed on Saturday morning (Australian time), with Mr Khan holding a 13-point lead over Mr Goldsmith and securing more than 50 per cent of votes after the second round of counting. The Labour politician replaces Conservative Boris Johnson, who has run the city of 8.6 million people for eight years. A top campaigner for Britain to leave the EU, Mr Johnson is seen as a contender to succeed David Cameron as party leader and prime minister. The London mayoral vote pitted Mr Khan, 45, the son of a bus driver who grew up in public housing in inner city London, against Mr Goldsmith, 41, the son of a billionaire financier.” (Also: 1300 years of Muslims who ran major European cities)


6th of May 2016

Turkey’s PM resigns amid high-level rifts and deepening crises “Turkey’s prime minister resigned Thursday after a public rift with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, throwing the country’s politics into turmoil and paving the way for Erdogan to consolidate power at a time of domestic and regional crises. In an otherwise defiant speech, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he would bow out of upcoming elections for leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party … The move marks another potential step by Erdogan to weaken the country’s parliamentary system and establish a strong presidency, further cementing his authority. Erdogan has taken an increasingly hard line against perceived opponents, and the president’s relationship with Davutoglu also grew strained.”

The Washington Post

5th of May 2016

Canadian blaze forces evacuation, keeps firefighters at distance “Walls of flame driven by strong, shifting winds raged out of control on Wednesday in and around the evacuated city of Fort McMurray, Alberta, where firefighters were helpless to stop the destruction and where about 88,000 people had fled their homes. The entire population of Fort McMurray, the main center for Canada’s oil sands region, was ordered to evacuate on Tuesday evening once the fire, which began in woodlands outside the city, had overwhelmed firefighters’ efforts to hold it at bay. Cars and trucks jammed the only route out of the city, Highway 63, which runs north to the oil-sands work camps and south to Edmonton, the nearest sizable city, 400 km away.” (Also: This is climate change)

The New York Times

4th of May 2016

Ted Cruz suspends presidential campaign, ends hope of stopping Trump “On Tuesday, Mr. Cruz ended his campaign, his loss in Indiana extinguishing any chance of denying Mr. Trump the nomination. ‘Together we left it all on the field in Indiana,’ he told supporters here as cries of ‘Nooo!’ rained from the crowd. ‘We gave it everything we’ve got. But the voters chose another path.’ … Mr. Trump has proved immune to political gravity. He has been largely impervious to attacks, once Mr. Cruz backed away from his monthslong embrace and began hammering him.”

The New York Times

3rd of May 2016

Somali refugee in critical condition after setting herself alight on Nauru “The young Somali woman who set herself alight on Nauru – the second refugee in a week to do so – has been taken to Australia by air ambulance, but her situation remains critical. Hodan, 21, doused herself and set herself alight inside the OPC1 section of the detention centre on Nauru. According to reports, she suffered severe burns to most of her body. One person reported ‘all of her clothes were burned off’. Another source said: ‘One of the witnesses who saw her said the situation is much worse than Omid,’ a reference to 23-year-old Omid Masoumali, who died last week after self-immolating on Nauru.” (Also: Asylum seekers ‘encouraged’ to self-harm by advocates, says immigration minister and The worsening conditions in the onshore detention centres)

The Guardian

2nd of May 2016

Human extinction isn’t that unlikely “The Stern Review, the UK government’s premier report on the economics of climate change, estimated a 0.1% risk of human extinction every year. That may sound low, but it adds up. The Global Challenges Foundation estimates a 9.5% chance of human extinction within the next hundred years. And that number underestimates the risk of dying in any global cataclysm. The Stern Review only calculated the danger of species-wide extinction … What kind of human-level extinction events are these? The report holds catastrophic climate change and nuclear war far above the rest.”

The Atlantic