August 9th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

The Immanent Frame

On the politics of Islam in America, caught between the appropriation of the Liberal and the Conservative spheres.

Tech

The Daily Dot

Boycott Google or Ban Google isn’t working out apparently. They’re pointing out the obvious here, which is that there is no way to get around using Google. Though in my head, all this article serves to do is bring up the fact that there is such an enormous amount of data that Google is able to process and use. Thing is, the fact that you don’t have a choice in the matter, and that they’re big enough for competition to be irrelevant should be reason enough for more anti-trust lawsuits, right?

Finance

Center for Financial Inclusion

CFI Blog post on ICICI bank in India and how they hooked up with Stellar, to create a product for their customers. ICICI customers can transfer money using a mobile wallet. This money is process in a cryptocurrency, the unit of which is lumens. It’s not very clear if you can export this cryptocurrency out of its environment. Probably not.

Society

Vox

The firing of the Google engineer who wrote the now infamous memo might not be open to arbitration. Google engineers are not unionized and the United States apparently offers no protection to employees at their workplace (in the private sector).

Gizmodo

An alternative to the anti-diversity google memo. Article on how science has always been used to justify the men over women argument, apart from various other things.

Timeline

Fascinating article on an article who explores Greenwich in New York City and how the forces that forced the young, black, gay and homeless of Stonewall now own it. Did they win?

Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

United States

Vox

Article on the unprecedented ethical concerns that affect Trump and this administration.

War

USA Today

Blackwater will receive more contracts going forward. I’m not sure why every time it gets reported, they open with a shocking line like: “The United States is considering a plan to entrust security to private contractors…”.

They’ve been doing it for a minute now.

The exact nature of their work is not clear, but apparently, they will serve in an advisory role.

July 26th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

United States

Zero Hedge

A poll conducted by Delphi Analytica concluded that Kid Rock had a slight edge over the incumbent democrat who occupies the Michigan senate seat that he is apparently going to contest. An absurd 44% of those who were polled were undecided. It seems ludicrous that someone like Kid Rock could win a senate seat, but stranger things have happened. The Dem’s blue wall fell in 2016 and I don’t see any real effort by them to repair the damage done by Clinton. Everybody seems to think that Trump is doing irreparable damage to the Republican party, but having Clinton as a candidate has done untold damage to the democratic cause. We’ll have to wait for the mid-terms to see if the democrats can make some gains off the fact that the Trump presidency has been doing nothing more than fending off allegations of Russian influence, though I’m not too optimistic about their chances to do that.

Kid Rock (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Kid Rock (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

The Hill

In what might be its biggest move yet, the House passed bipartisan legislation that would impose sanctions against Russia for its role in the 2016 elections. The bill also extends to Iran and North Korea.

Race

Article by Joan who was born in Africa and moved to America when she was very young. She speaks of the troubles of being African and struggling to hide her “African-ness” from others. Interesting thoughts on integration and holding on to what you would consider central to your identity.

Philosophy

Aeon via 3quarksdaily

Author (Robert Hartman) evaluates our response to a hypothetical situation of drinking and driving. He points out that we feel, for some odd reason, that someone who drinks and drives and does not end up killing anyone is better off morally than someone who does end up killing someone. Luck, then, ends up being a part of what we would consider right or wrong. Which then leads him to consider different ways of reacting to stimulus and whether or not it matters.

Finance

Motherboard

The United States Securities and Exchange commission has stated that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), might be considered securities under certain circumstances and would thus be subject to laws that govern securities. I’m not a finance guy so I don’t really know how this would impact cryptocurrency or its value, but I do know that part of the charm of digital currency is the fact that it is completely anonymous. You don’t have to reveal your identity if you don’t want to. You have a digital wallet that has a unique identifying code and that’s all you need to reveal for transactions. Digital currencies till now have not been very heavily regulated, but governments will try to cash in on this as and when they can. If the SEC considers certain types of ICOs to be securities then the companies in question would have to reveal the identities of those involved in the transaction. Apart from this, I’m sure that the US government would also like to tax these transactions more and also regulate it if possible. You can still be taxed for digital currencies now. Right now, it’s treated as an asset and you still have to report capital gains and losses that you make. Just like any other financial instrument.

Sudan

Sudan Tribune

The US Embassy in Khartoum called for the Sudanese Government and the Sudanese Liberation Army to allow the UN to establish an UNAMID mission in the Jebel Marra town.

July 26th – International News Round-Up (Part I)

Religion

Christian Today

World famous Evangelical Christian Billy Graham on whether or not he considers the Anti-Christ have a presence on this earth in this day and age? He struggles to define what he means by the Anti-Christ. Though he does present two contradictory ways in which Christians can deal with this, by saying that Christians should not worry about it even if he is a great presence in this world. As a theologian, he really should be able to flesh this out more.

Antichrist form the Osogovo Monastery (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Antichrist form the Osogovo Monastery (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Libya

Libya Herald

The Presidential Guard Commander has said that all light, medium and heavy arms would not be allowed to enter the capital Tripoli. This is part of the larger plan for the administration in Tripoli to restore some amount of normalcy to the capital after the Libya Dawn takeover. Italy and Turkey are the only major embassies to have returned to the city. It will take a while for there for various governments to trust the administration with their envoys.

Zambia

Lusaka Times

The Community Development and Social Welfare Minister of Zambia declared that as long as girls continue to be married off early, that the country would not grow and prosper. Though she was short on the details of whether girls who were not forced into marriages early in their lives would be allowed to pursue avenues that would contribute in any way to those around them.

Argentina

The Bubble

Midterm Primary Elections are just around the corner and The Bubble spoke to Rosendo Fraga on his predictions. Around 25% of the electorate have not decided on who they want to vote for. A huge number of undecided voters.

“But we’re not seeing a clear scenario where we can say that a party is 10, five points ahead of another one. That’s a matter we have to be aware of. Doing a bit of electoral geography, we have the provincial interior that has a third of the vote, with cities such as Bahía Blanca, Azul, Tandil, where Cambiemos has the majority of the vote. They have the rural areas as well,” he added.

Buenos Aires is the prize that everybody wants. Like in most other countries, there are certain territories that are considered as statements. Another way to put this would be to call them mandate indicators. These are usually historically important places, capitals or areas where enormous amounts of the electorate are concentrated (usually urban centers). Uttar Pradesh in India is a good example of this.

“The Buenos Aires Province is arguably the big price of the elections. Whoever gets it will be perceived as the winner, even if their party doesn’t get the most votes at a national level. That’s why I asked Fraga if he believes that the government will try to spin the analysis if it loses the Province at the hands of the former president.

“They will certainly try. They will say something like “Cristina is a party in the Buenos Aires Province, maybe the City too. I label the Peronist vote in the interior as something different. This is what the Kirchnerism tried to do in 2009, when De Narváez won and in 2013, when Massa won. It couldn’t. They could try, but I think it will be hard for it to [make] work. Especially because Cristina is a candidate, and that’s something that nationalizes the election in the Province,” he said.

Finance

Institutional Investor

Goldman Sachs apparently bonds issued by Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) back in 2014. The opposition party leader wrote to the CEO accusing him of making money off the suffering of a people. Which technically isn’t wrong.

Goldman isn’t the only large corporation that has done this. BlackRock also has holdings in the country. Goldman says that they made the investment in the hope that life in the country would improve, without going into the ethical quandary of whether supplying funds to Maduro was in good faith.

Arguments are made in the article about investing in developing nations in general and how government rule cannot damn individuals in the country who aren’t beholden to their host nations way of acting, but that really doesn’t solve the Goldman problem. PDVSA is a state-owned giant with very clear links to Maduro.