The Shortlist Daily

The best reads from around the world

29th of April 2016

Writer Jenny Diski dies aged 68 “When Diski first learned she had cancer, her initial reaction was one of embarrassment, as the usual responses felt heavily clichéd and scripted … Born in London in 1947, Diski lived with British writer Doris Lessing for four years and went on to remain friends with her for a total of fifty. Leaving school without taking her A-levels, Diski spent many of her formative years as a patient in various psychiatric hospitals. She later trained as a teacher, working in a Hackney comprehensive and setting up a free school, before going on to embark on a fruitful career in writing.” (Also: “Under no circumstances is anyone to say that I lost a battle with cancer. Or that I bore it bravely” and 9 stories by and about Jenny Diski)

The Independent

28th of April 2016

Manus Island camp to be closed, refugees likely to be relocated to Christmas Island and Nauru “Christmas Island and Nauru are firming as the likely destinations for the detainees on Manus Island, with the closure of the detention centre imminent, according to Papua New Guinea officials. Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton, said on Thursday morning there was room on Nauru to take additional detainees. ‘There is capacity [on Nauru] but we’re talking with the PNG government about what options are available in PNG and we’ll continue those discussions with them.’ In the wake of the PNG supreme court decision ordering the centre closed, Dutton has been specific in his language, saying that none of the men from Manus would ever be ‘permanently settled’ in Australia.” (Also: Refugee at Nauru centre sets himself on fire)

The Guardian

27th of April 2016

Cancer: The final frontier “Condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of cancer’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. If it were 50 years old, human beings would know very little about its first 49 years, except that it killed men and women with the ease of a scythe slicing through wheat. About a year ago, mankind finally began to fight back, using the crude tool of surgery as a caveman would use a cudgel. Two months ago, humanity finally began to understand the nature of cancer and began to use radiation therapy. This week, humanity declared war on cancer. Yesterday, the modern cancer-fighting apparatus developed, spanning hospitals and academic research centers with cutting-edge research, imaging, and treatments. But now, as the clock strikes midnight, for the most part cancer is still the menace that it was, beyond the reach of humankind and mostly beyond the range of a cure.”

The Atlantic

26th of April 2016

A car salesman vs ISIS “Toby Lopez heard on CNN one day in the fall of 2014 that the Islamic State was active on Twitter, and he went online to see what he could find. ‘I was intrigued,’ said Mr. Lopez, 42. ‘What could they possibly be saying on Twitter?’ What followed was a radical break from his humdrum life. He was pulled into the murky world of Internet jihadists, sparring with them from his office at the car dealership and late into the night at home. Before long, he was talking for hours on Skype with a man who claimed — falsely, as it would turn out — to be a top ISIS military commander, trying to negotiate the release of hostages. Mr. Lopez contacted the F.B.I. and began a testy relationship with counterterrorism agents who came to believe he might pose a danger. In the end, he landed in federal prison, where he was held for nearly 14 months without trial.”

The New York Times

22nd of April 2016

Prince, singer and songwriter, dies aged 57 at Paisley Park “The hugely popular, acclaimed and influential musician Prince has died at his home in Minnesota at the age of 57. Police were summoned to his Paisley Park estate early on Thursday and found his body in a lift. An investigation has been opened.” (Also: Prince’s style through the years and What it was like going to school with Prince and Prince at Sydney Opera House and Hilton Als on Prince and A brief history of Prince’s contractual controversies and Four performances and The best weird stories about Prince)


21st of April 2016

Hundreds feared dead in migrant shipwreck off Libya “Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned in the southern Mediterranean last week, in what would be the deadliest migrant shipwreck in months. A repurposed fishing boat overloaded by smugglers with up to 500 Africans hoping to reach Italy from eastern Libya sunk as passengers from smaller boats were trying to board it, survivors told the International Organisation for Migration. The survivors’ accounts described panicked passengers desperately trying to stay afloat by jumping between vessels. A death toll of just half the size would bring the total number of mortalities in the Mediterranean in 2016 to over 1,000 – more than a quarter of last year’s record tally.”

The Guardian

20th of April 2016

Steaming hot world sets more temperature records “The Earth sizzled in March with the most unusually warm month in recorded history as average land surface temperatures easily exceeded levels deemed by scientists to constitute dangerous climate change. The abnormal weather has continued into April as the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Indian Ocean dumped rain at rates reaching 300 mm an hour, and Australian scientists declared the worst coral bleaching event ever on the Great Barrier Reef. Combined global land and sea-surface temperatures in March were 1.22 degrees above the 20th-century average, beating the previous record for the month by almost one-third of a degree. Each of the past 11 months have now broken global temperature records.” (Also: 93% of the Great Barrier Reef affected by coral bleaching)

The Sydney Morning Herald

19th of April 2016

Brazilian legislators vote for impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff “Brazilian legislators voted on Sunday night to approve impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, the nation’s first female president, whose tenure has been buffeted by a dizzying corruption scandal, a shrinking economy and spreading disillusionment. After three days of impassioned debate, the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, voted to send the case against Ms. Rousseff to the Senate. Its 81 members will vote by a simple majority on whether to hold a trial on charges that the president illegally used money from state-owned banks to conceal a yawning budget deficit in an effort to bolster her re-election prospects.” (Also: Is Brazil in the middle of ‘soft coup’? and How to hack an election)

The New York Times

18th of April 2016

Ecuador earthquake: Hundreds killed, rescue operations underway “Rescuers in Ecuador are racing to dig out people trapped under the rubble of homes and businesses following a powerful magnitude-7.8 earthquake that killed at least 246 people. The quake reduced buildings to rubble, toppled power lines and sent terrified residents running from their homes when it struck the Pacific coast Saturday in a zone popular with tourists. Vice President Jorge Glas called it the ‘worst seismic movement we have faced in decades’. Local authorities expect the death toll to rise.” (Also Japan earthquakes: Dozens dead, thousands homeless)


15th of April 2016

Greenland ice sheet starts melting alarmingly early amid record temperatures “A team of Danish scientists has discovered an enormous area of Greenland has started melting earlier in the year than ever before. Greenland’s ice sheet typically melts when the spring arrives, thawing slightly as temperatures rise, before freezing again in the winter. However, until now the earliest date when more than 10 per cent of the sheet had started melting was 5 May, during the spring of 2010. According to observations and weather models made by the Danish Meteorological Institute, almost 12 per cent of the ice sheet had started to thaw out by 11 April, a new record. DMI climate scientist Peter Landgren said he was initially incredulous that such a large thaw could have started so early. ‘We had to check that our models were still working properly,’ he said.”

The Independent