Readings

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Trump's first 100 days

"The most dramatic launch of a new administration since 1933 and the most fraught with discord since 1861." "A crash-and-burn course for the rookie politician." "The worst ever." How will the first 100 days of Donald Trump's presidency be remembered by future historians, with the benefit of hindsight? TIME asks 11 experts for their views. 

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Equality in Japan

With modestly paid bosses, a high average wealth and low unemployment, Japan — the most equal major economy in the world in terms of wealth distribution — has been held up as a model for other countries since its post-World War Two reconstruction. But as its workforce ages and positions become more precarious, is it all too good to be true? Justin McCurry reports for The Guardian.

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More 'Mother of All Bombs'?

The 21,000-pound bomb dropped on a network of tunnels used by insurgents in Afghanistan drew global attention — but how did those in the country feel about the strike? Reporting from Kabul, Ruchi Kumar writes that Afghan leaders are keen to see more U.S. power on display in the battle against ISIS, whose methods are deplored even by local Taliban groups and sympathizers. For Foreign Policy.

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After the attempted coup

In order to put the results of last weekend's referendum in Turkey in context, read this in-depth New York Times piece by Suzy Hansen on the purge currently being undertaken in the country by Erdogan's government. Kurds, Gulenists, doctors, professors — no one can quite consider themselves safe, as the state expands its enemies list and a fragile democracy is tested.

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Nasty, brutish and short

Following the test-firing of a ballistic missile by North Korea ahead of Donald Trump's visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, an influential state-run Chinese newspaper warned this week that the Korean peninsula is the closest it has been to a "military clash" since 2006. Steve Mollman lays out what the next Korean conflict might look like, for Quartz.


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London falling?

In London, writes Sarah Lyall for this beautiful feature in The New York Times, "the thought is that being connected to the rest of the world is something to celebrate." But what happens to this global metropolis, whose soul is made up of so many different cultures and identities, when that idea is put into question — as it has been with the start of Brexit negotiations? Photos by Sergey Ponomarev.

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The next world war

Since the Russian seizure of Crimea in 2014, tensions between Russia and the U.S. have been on the rise. With both sides routinely flying close to the other’s border, risky intercepts are becoming more common, and the potential for a miscalculation is keeping Pentagon officials up at night. For the Huffington Post’s Highline, David Wood tackles the question of how war between the two sides might start.

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The politics of gratitude

Dina Nayeri fled Iran as an asylum seeker and quickly found that people assumed she would be grateful for living in the West. But this “gratitude politics” didn’t sit well with her. In this piece for The Guardian, Nayeri unpacks her story and shows how it relates to ongoing conversations about the refugee crisis. 

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Bye-bye Britain

This week, European Council President Donald Tusk was handed a letter by Britain's permanent representative at the EU invoking Article 50 — meaning the official two-year countdown is on to negotiate Britain's exit from the union. What happens next? The divorce won't be easy and the to-do list is long, as Caroline Mortimer shows us in The Independent.

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A dictator and his ruined nation

After almost 40 years of Robert Mugabe's rule, Zimbabwe is so strapped for cash it's selling off its elephants. With Mugabe now 93 years old, his reign is in its last days. What comes after the death of the dictator? What will change look like? Margaret Evans, Ellen Mauro and Richard Devey put this feature together for the CBC.

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Hunting hackers

For WiredGarrett Graff pieces together the many moving parts behind the story of the hunt for one of the world's most notorious cybercriminals, a Russian known as "Bogachev." The difficulty agents had in tracking him down, Graff writes, should be a warning for the analysts charged with looking into the hacking of the U.S. presidential election.

the guardian

Westminster united

In this age of polarization, it has become commonplace to disparage the political class. But here, Jonathan Freedland describes the humanity and heroics he saw during Wednesday's attack in London. Westminster became "not a metaphor, not a far-off citadel of wicked, scheming politicians but a real place, filled with real people – as vulnerable to an act of murderous violence as anybody else." For The Guardian.

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Royal preparations

It's inevitable that one day, perhaps soon, the reign of Queen Elizabeth II will come to an end. How will the networks respond? How will Commonwealth leaders be informed? What title will Camilla have? And, perhaps most importantly, what will the Queen's death mean for the British Empire? In this fascinating piece for The Guardian, Sam Knight takes readers behind the scenes of the meticulously laid out plans for life after Elizabeth.

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Closing the coal mines

For NPR, Rob Schmitz reports from one of China's largest open-pit coal mines, once a hive of activity but now marked for closure by the government. As China shuts down mines, either for efficiency purposes or as part of a green strategy, what happens to the men who are left behind — coal workers who have known no other job? 

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Inside the refugee archipelago

For Refugees Deeply, Daniel Howden and Apostolis Fotiadis dig into the failures behind the reaction of the international community and the Greek government to the influx of refugees since 2015 ("the most expensive humanitarian response in history"). What they found was stories of severe miscommunication, ego and ineptitude on the part of the people whose responsibility it was to stem this crisis.

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Power shifts

As Syria's civil war rages on, Bashar al-Assad continues to cling to power. But how strong is his hold on the areas of Syria under government control, really? For Spiegel OnlineFritz Schaap reports on the smugglers and warlords who are becoming more influential and brazen as the conflict goes on, leading militias that are, more often than not, accountable to no one. 

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America's envoy

According to Bloomberg News, Trump's choice for the next U.S. ambassador to Canada is Kelly Knight Craft, a wealthy Republican fundraiser from Kentucky. In Maclean's, Shannon Proudfoot compiles what you need to know about her so far: her husband is a coal mogul, she is close with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and she knows how to convince people to hand over loads of cash. 

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Saving Jewish history

This piece for Newsweek by Emily Feldman tells the story of two unlikely allies — a Kurdish, atheist filmmaker from Turkey and an American Jew running a non-profit in New York City. Together, using film footage, eye witnesses and digital mapping software, they are preserving the memory of Jewish heritage sites all around the Middle East — many of which have already disappeared.

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Crisis in America's fields

Donald Trump's promise to deport millions and build a wall at the Mexican border could have many consequences, but what effect would it have on America's food system? "At least half of all farmworkers in the U.S. are undocumented Mexican immigrants," writes Brian Barth for Modern Farmer. These are jobs Americans would rather avoid — so who will pick up the slack if the president succeeds in his plans?

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On the frontline in Mosul

For Maclean's, Adnan Khan reports from inside the battle for Mosul that has been raging since last fall, as Iraqi forces try to take back territory held by ISIS. The offensive was "supposed to be an act of emancipation," Khan writes. Instead, civilians are finding themselves caught in the crossfire, "up against diminishing odds of survival."