July 27th – International News Round-Up (Part II)

Society

Consumerist

Article on a study that was conducted on a wide range of consumers, all in the first world, on the kind of purchases they made with their money and how happy it made them. Apparently, these people gained more happiness If they produced time-saving devices/ services with their money.

I think it would be very interesting if someone tried to replicate this experiment in a third world-country. I think there’s a certain value attached to status items when people acquire money in a country that isn’t part of the first world.

Right Wing

Acting Man

Person who claims that the British were the best thing to happen to India. Real Uncle Tom vibes from this one.

Rightly Considered

Philosophical argument against the death penalty. Blog that is dedicated to right wing philosophers. Article on why the author considers the death penalty to be just: because some people deserve it. He also brings in the question of who authorizes said punishments. As an aside he also mentions that God and the Church can punish him.

UK

SPERI

With the UK leaving the EU, they will have to renegotiate with the SACU, a bloc of Southern African countries that includes Botswana, Swaziland and South Africa among its members. It’s imperative that they lock that down since they apparently quite a large amount to these countries. The article also points out that since the SACU negotiates as a bloc, this makes things a little more complicated, since there are varying levels of importance in these linkages.

LSE Blog

Does MP voting reflect what the MP believes or what his constituents believe? The article feels like since MPs voted for what their constituents felt like on a certain range of issues (free votes?), this would also extend to other issues. I’m not sure about this one. I think the behavior of members of the parliament are dictated by a much more complex array of preferences. One of which is the institution of the political party.

Iran

Al Monitor via The Iran Project

Inflation in Iran is set to climb a marginal amount (from 10.2% to 10.9%) in Rouhani’s second term. Iran’s cash economy seems to be one of the biggest reasons why the country struggles to keep inflation in check. Their central bank has to keep up the supply of money in the economy to ensure that it satisfies all potential transactions, and this can lead to inflation if left unchecked. The central bank is also looking to manage the interest rate so that they can manage the balance between investment and inflation.

Scotland & Catalan

Fair Observer

Scotland and Catalan are both countries within countries. Or at the very least that’s how the local population predominantly feels. They have both tried to hold referendums in the past. Article focuses on why the referendum attempts that they might attempt in the future need the support of the British and Spanish governments, even if it is by coercion.

Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Catalan National Day (Image Source: Wiki Commons)

Media

YouTube via Long War Journal

Watch an Al- Qaeda affiliated organization along the Syria-Lebanon border shoot down an armed Hezbollah drone. The drone is seen dropping its payload at various locations, before being shot down.

Israel

Al Jazeera

Israel has removed the metal railings at the Al-Aqsa mosque. They removed the metal detectors on Tuesday.  According to an Al Jazeera reporter, this is a very people centric movement and is not directly influenced by any political organization (read: Hamas). I posted a video of the protests outside the Al Aqsa mosque which was essentially Muslims praying on the street. Though, there has been media of major unrest around the area.

Middle East

National Interest

Iran is significantly important in the world at this moment. Back before the nuclear deal, Iran was just one bit of the “axis of evil”. The nuclear deal and the restrain that Iran and the United States showed in reaching it, changed all that. Iran sort of came out of the shadows of the world. Sort of. The problem is, with an Iran that could work with nuclear fuel came fear from majority Sunni Gulf States and Israel. The article details how the Iran issue is driving them together. This is a good example of how something can make it seem like there’s some modicum of co-operation, but it’s really more of an alliance of convenience. I think that if the Gulf States and Israel do come closer solely on the basis of the Iran issue, it would be like if you got married to someone just for the sex. Eventually you realize that it’s not enough. There needs to be much wider engagement between the two blocs.

United States

Vox

Skinny Repeal is essentially the only thing that the Republicans can get enough numbers behind to pass. Anything else is way too radical. All of them know that they would be impaled by their constituents if they repealed Obamacare wholesale. Not to knock Obamacare, but at this point of time, it really does not matter if Obamacare is the most splendid healthcare bill on the planet. As long as it does a half decent job and people perceive it as kind of fair, it’ll be nearly impossible to repeal. Healthcare and other government services are kind of like that. They’re massive and have such enormous amounts of inertia that it becomes political suicide to touch them.

Tech

Zero Hedge

The internet was around a long time before 1995, but it started to experience 100% growth year upon year from 1995 onwards. That’s the year Netscape was introduced. With respect to the article, I don’t think bitcoin has really had its Netscape moment yet, but time will tell.

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

Right Wing/ Conspiracy Theorist

Stefan Molyneux on Info Wars

Stefan Molyneux and Alex Jones have a talk on what to do about the world. That’s actually the general topic of discussion. It’s actually pretty confusing what they stand for. Molyneux, I remember from a documentary about cults. From what I recall, Free Domain Radio was all for “unshackling” their kids from their parents. In this interview however, Stefan proudly says that he is in fact a father and that he is working with other members of the alternative media to create a better world for his child. It’s difficult to tell where these guys come down on various subjects. They conflate globalization, communism and socialism. There’s a very real fear of the left. I think you would have to be American to understand where they’re coming from here, and I don’t mean to agree with them, I just mean to understand them. Though, in many ways the idea of large scale narratives explaining certain phenomena that we see isn’t new to me. You see the same kind of fear when people talk about Love Jihad and the wiping out of Hindu’s in India. We don’t mind smaller narratives to explain why we scraped our knee or why we fell off the bike, but I think when it comes to explaining larger phenomenon, like why our daughter won’t pray or why half my son’s friends are brown, we might resort to bigger explanations.

United Kingdom

LSE Blog

It’s been such a roller coaster in the UK. From Brexit to the partial rejection of Theresa May. Article explores the political currents that have shaped the fact that conservative party in Scotland has been putting up a solid performance at the ballot box. The author think that this is a combination of the fact that the conservatives were able to market themselves as unionists but also as those who believed in the devolution of powers. While the idea of being Scottish might be different from the idea of being British, they funnily enough are both euro-sceptics.

Media

Ritholtz

Earthquakes are the most covered natural disasters. 33% of the media coverage that natural disasters get in the media are focused on earthquakes. Couple of reasons for this, I think. Earthquakes affect urban centers much worse than they affect rural areas. At least in terms of casualties. Putting aside the idea of it being a “disaster” only if it takes human life. Storms are 14%. I think the American east coast accounts for a huge portion of this. It is also the country that produces the most amount of media. Again, I could be dead wrong. I haven’t bothered to check if I’m right on this one. Let me know.

Mongolia

Mongolia Focus

Article on the state of Mongol-Turkish relations at the moment. Turkey has long considered Mongolia to be a neighbor to him they have deep ethnic linkages. The Turks are seen to have originated in the general region. The author doesn’t really talk about the state of relations as much as mention that Turkey could use a friend right now and that the friend is not coming from the west, which Turkey has pissed off enough this year alone.

AI

Daily Dot

China is using AI to predict and preempt crime. The system works by putting together various points of data that can span days or even weeks. It then creates a pattern out of this, along with the individual and predicts crime. The article also mentions that the United States is attempting to do this in Chicago. It would be very interesting to see how that turns out. How would you predict gang violence?

Cambodia

The Cambodia Daily

The CPP heavy constitutional council passed amendments to the constitution on Tuesday. This will pass on to the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers (who will both approve it) before it will have to be signed by the king. He of course, isn’t home. Funnily enough he left as soon as the opposition kicked up a fuss about the law. According to law, in the absence of the king, the acting head of state (The Senate President) can sign legislation into law.

France

SPERI

Article on the awful performance by the French Socialist party in the recent elections which saw the French public deliver the throne to one Emmanuel Macron.

China

South China Morning Post

The Honk-Kong and Mainland China railroad link throws up some interesting legal questions about whose jurisdiction various parts of the station and train belong to. For example, a baby born on the train counts as a citizen of mainland China and will not be granted residency in Honk Kong.

The high-speed rail link is set to be completed by 2018. It’s been delayed quite a few times, is projected to cost almost twice as much as it was supposed to and resulted in the demolition of 200 homes. That’s the price to pay for high speed connectivity, right?

United States

Breitbart News

Trump is making enemies out of some of his best friends. I’m not sure how this is sustainable. Almost every conservative worth his/her salt has stood behind Sessions. He is seen as a respectable figure who stood behind Trump from the very beginning. Immigration policy and immigration cities are seen as some of his biggest talking points in his job as AG. Does all this come down to the fact that Trump really wants to go behind Clinton? After all this time?

Jeff Sessions being sworn in (Image Source: Wiki Commons)
Jeff Sessions being sworn in (Image Source: Wiki Commons)