Category Archives: Around the World

“[I]t is not even clear that the president himself knows what that strategy is.”

The Washington Post Opinions: Trump’s actions on North Korea have consequences. Here’s a list of them. By Anne Applebaum, columnist. Published May 25, 2018.

“Remember, Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal didn’t automatically return the Middle East to where it was before the pact was signed in 2015: It returned us to a worse place. We’re now unable to reimpose sanctions on Iran because the coalition that enforced them is broken. Trump’s withdrawal from the Kim summit doesn’t return the Korean Peninsula to status quo ante either. Even if he returns to the negotiating table next month, we do not live in the same world that we lived in on March 7, the day before a plan for the now-canceled summit was announced. Actions have consequences. Here’s a list of them.

We don’t have the credibility that we had before. This is the most important consequence of Trump’s impulsive decisions, first to agree to a summit with no warning, and then to cancel the summit with no warning. The one “card” the United States has always held on the Korean Peninsula was its military presence, coupled with the presumption that, if provoked or attacked, U.S. forces would respond. Now that it’s clear how eager Trump was for a summit, how much he wanted the Nobel Peace Prize that Fox News promised him, and how rapidly he pivoted from calling Kim “Rocket Man” and “maniac” to “very open” and “very honorable,” any further bluster from the president will just sound ludicrous.

A U.S. president’s ignorance has been on naked display. I was with apolitical Polish friends in Warsaw just after the summit cancellation was announced. Normally they don’t pay much attention to North Korea, but this time they were filled with questions: Doesn’t Trump have any advisers?”

Still unsolved after 47 years

Die Zeit 22/2018: “Die habe ich gesehen”. “Seit fünf Jahrzehnten ist die Identität einer geheimnisvollen Toten unbekannt. Doch jetzt gibt es eine neue Spur: Die Aussage eines norwegischen Fischers.” Von Tanja Stelzer.

Die Zeit 03/2018: Die Tote aus dem Isdal. “1970 wurde in Norwegen eine Frauenleiche gefunden: Verbrannt, entstellt, mit rätselhaftem Gepäck. Bis heute ist unklar, wer sie war. Eine Verrückte? Eine Agentin? Die Polizei ermittelt jetzt wieder. Neue Spuren weisen nach Deutschland.” Von Tanja Stelzer.

Der erwähnte Podcast findet sich hier – in englischer Sprache:

BBC: Death in Ice Valley. “An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century.”

It’s also available via iTunes, and you can listen to the first episode (with illustrations) here (31:50min).

See also The Independent: Death in Ice Valley: The new true crime podcast that’s the BBC’s answer to Serial. “It is hoped listeners will help solve the mysterious death of a Norwegian woman in 1970 outside Bergen, in this innovative podcast take on Nordic noir.”

More links in this MetaFilter thread: “Ich komme bald”. I especially recommend this article from the BBC:

BBC News: Isdal Woman: The mystery death haunting Norway for 46 years. By Helier Cheungm BBC News, Bergen. Published on 13 May 2017.

Researchers in U.S., U.K. measure volume of automated tweets, find that bots may have contributed to, even tipped, elections.

Bloomberg: Twitter Bots Helped Trump and Brexit Win, Economic Study Says.

“Twitter bots may have altered the outcome of two of the world’s most consequential elections in recent years, according to an economic study.

Automated tweeting played a small but potentially decisive role in the 2016 Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s presidential victory, the National Bureau of Economic Research working paper showed this month. Their rough calculations suggest bots added 1.76 percentage point to the pro-“leave” vote share as Britain weighed whether to remain in the European Union, and may explain 3.23 percentage points of the actual vote for Trump in the U.S. presidential race.

“Our results suggest that, given narrow margins of victories in each vote, bots’ effect was likely marginal but possibly large enough to affect the outcomes,””

Link via MetaFilter.

“When the actions of the parents, neighbors, and school fail, there remains one last backstop: The state.”

The Atlantic: The Futility of Trying to Prevent More School Shootings in America. “As long as there is easy access to guns, there’s no way parents, teachers, and other specialists can thwart every violent teenager.”

“Details are only beginning to emerge about the gunman, and now it seems he kept his plans to himself, described in his personal journal. This would be unusual. In many of the other 21 (by CNN’s count) school shootings this year, there were clues to what would come to pass, to varying degrees. Typically, someone—a parent, a classmate, a teacher, a neighbor—had a hunch as to what would happen. Sometimes it was clear the child was mentally ill. Sometimes he had overtly displayed psychopathic traits. Sometimes other students steered clear of that particular boy at lunch in the hallway, because he was just plain scary. As Mary Ellen O’Toole, a retired FBI agent who’s an expert on school shootings, notes: “They never come out of the blue.”

If the clues were there, couldn’t these teens have been stopped? Faced with a dangerous child, families, schools, and police can do their utmost, and their utmost frequently staves off tragedy. But events like this point to a discomforting reality: Even though many potentially violent children can be treated and do get better, it’s impossible to ensure that every dangerous child will be reached. And, in the end, there’s not much that anyone can do to stop a determined shooter, aside from preventing him from getting a gun in the first place.”

“Point a gun at someone, and you’ll have 10 pointing right back at you, and that’s how we like it.”

The Washington Post: Gun violence’s distant echo. “After school shootings, a teenager challenges the gun culture in her conservative Wyoming town.”

“Alan had rarely heard anything described as liberal in northeast Wyoming, and now he listened as the disc jockey explained how 10 Campbell County High School students had marched downtown the previous afternoon to demand tighter gun laws. They said they wanted mandatory background checks on all gun purchases. They said they wanted to build a gun-control movement in solidarity with survivors of a shooting in Parkland, Fla., and tens of thousands of other teenagers protesting across the country.
[…]
“They should be expelled,” Alan remembered joking to his co-worker, once the radio switched back to classic rock and they turned onto the highway toward Gillette. “That bleeding-heart nonsense might fly in New York or D.C., but in Wyoming? That’s treason.”
[…]
He parked at a ramshackle house on the outskirts of town, where the newspaper waited at the kitchen table. On the front page he noticed a story about the gun protest, the first that anyone could remember in Gillette. “A Walkout for Change,” the headline read. Above that was a picture of several students marching, and there in the midst of them, holding a protest sign, was his 16-year-old daughter, Moriah.”