Readings

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Ten billion trees

In Pakistan, officials have launched what they’re calling the “10 Billion Tree Tsunami,” a tree-planting initiative they hope will raise environmental awareness. And not a moment too soon. “Pakistan will need more than a trillion new pines, cedars and eucalyptus trees to reverse decades of deforestation,” writes The Washington Post’s Pamela Constable. Luckily, “the idea of a green awakening seems to be taking root.”

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Inside Britain’s Foreign Office

As the UK continues to struggle with its plan for leaving the EU, Prospect Magazine’s Steve Bloomfield speaks with current and former diplomats to paint a picture of the state of Britain’s Foreign Office. It’s not pretty: “It is ‘exhausted,’ said one current ambassador; in a ‘malaise’ said a recently-retired senior diplomat; a ‘shambles’ said a former ambassador.” What is the way forward, in the age of Brexit? 

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Women in uniform

For The New York Times Magazine, Sophia Jones interviewed dozens of Afghan women working in their country’s security sector, embedding with US and NATO troops in order to see first-hand the challenges involved, from recruitment to cultural norms to keeping the women alive. It’s an uphill battle — experts, Jones writes, “say it could take generations before real, lasting progress is made.”


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Farewell to Brazil

For five years, as The Globe and Mail’s Latin America correspondent based in Rio, Stephanie Nolen reported on Brazil’s most important stories: the Lava Jato graft probe and its fallout, the Summer Olympics and World Cup, the devastation wrought by Zika, the seemingly innovative pacificacao program, and more. As she gets ready to move to Mexico City, Nolen reflects on the country she’s leaving behind.

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Blended photographs

This week, Maclean’s displays the work of photographer Peter Macdiarmid: “miniature time machines” that meld original photographs of Canadian involvement in World War One with newer images of how the same locations, in the UK, Belgium, France and Canada, look today. “The aftermath of the Great War becomes clear;” Maclean’s writes, “somehow, life went on, and the world was rebuilt.”

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War in Cameroon

For VICE News, travelling across rivers and through rainforest hillsides, Aris Roussinos visits Cameroon’s breakaway Ambazonia region, where a war of independence is underway. There, he reports on the “ordinary cocoa farmers” who, in a country with a French-speaking central government, “are now willing to fight and die to preserve their English-language culture and institutions.”

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Warning from Europe

In this Atlantic essay, journalist Anne Applebaum has a warning for Americans: when it comes to polarization, the worst might be yet to come. From Poland to Hungary to Greece — where history feels circular, rather than linear — Applebaum reports on the deep divides entrenched in European society, both at present and in the past. 

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Now or never

This summer, Canadians learned of the daring rescue that transported 106 of Syria’s White Helmets and more than 300 of their family members to safety. In Maclean’s, Terry Glavin has new details about how the operation, spurred on by Canadian diplomats, came together, and also about why only a fraction of the volunteers originally intended to be rescued were saved. 

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The state we're in

"I think it's really important to speak up & say what you think. Women especially," said digital pioneer Sue Gardner, in conversation with author Margaret Atwood Friday on Twitter. The two women, both special guests at next week's 6 Degrees event on inclusion in Toronto, joined OpenCanada online to discuss the state of the world, the role of technology and the citizen, and their reasons for optimism. Read the highlights here.

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UN drama

A panel of United Nations experts has found that North Korea is evading international sanctions with "seeming impunity," and has said as much in an independent report. So why hasn't it seen the light of day? Foreign Policy'Colum Lynch digs into the "bitter behind-the-scenes battle between Russia and the United States" preventing the report's publication. 

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10 years on

This week marks a decade since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the implosion of Wall Street and the beginning of the global financial crisis — the effects of which the world is still feeling today. In this beautifully-crafted Reuters interactive, five reporters examine what has — and hasn't — changed in the last 10 years, with respect to politics, markets, wealth distribution, and more. 

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The Day Zero crisis

Earlier this year, it was widely predicted that Cape Town's dams and reservoirs would soon dry up, resulting in a lack of water. "Day Zero" has yet to arrive, and while some in South Africa see it as a manufactured crisis, as Vann R. Newkirk II writes in The Atlantic, "Cape Town’s reality will soon impact many global cities, where water will become a constant concern, and democracy will become contingent upon the taps."

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An interview with Freeland

Spiegel Online's Matthias Gebauer and Christoph Schult speak with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland about her relationship with her German counterpart, renegotiating NAFTA in the shadow of a trade war, Ontario premier Doug Ford, Canada's spat with Saudi Arabia, and more. 

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Transatlanticism

Is the ideology that won the Cold War in crisis? In The GuardianMadeleine Schwartz unpacks the idea that the system put in place following the Second World War — the transatlantic relationship that props up the liberal international order — "worked well until Donald Trump came along and knocked it down as if he were laying the foundations for a new casino."

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Bridge of desperation

With its economy in ruins, Venezuela has been brought to its knees — and there is no relief in sight for the millions affected. For the BBC, Katy Watson reports from the Simón Bolívar International Bridge, where countless Venezuelans cross into Colombia every day, searching desperately for medical attention that is nowhere to be found at home.

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Bearing witness in Afghanistan

In The Atlantic, former AFP Kabul bureau chief Anuj Chopra pens a moving tribute to the colleagues he lost this year to Afghanistan's violence. "Only a few global-news organizations remain invested in reporting from Afghanistan," he writes. "We are the last remaining hurdle to the war becoming what it must never be — forgotten. For that reason, our fallen colleagues deserve to be celebrated."

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From Tahrir to Trump

Not that long ago, as protests swelled during the Arab Spring, social media and digital tools were hailed as instruments of change, capable of bringing down dictators. But these technologies have also contributed to an increasingly polarized US under Donald Trump and rising authoritarianism in countries around the world, as Zeynep Tufekci reports for the MIT Technology Review

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Greek recovery?

This month, with the last of the third aid package from the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund, Greece's economic crisis will come to a tentative end. In Spiegel OnlineGiorgos Christides and Tobias Rapp report on the uphill battle still facing the Mediterranean country as it looks to begin paying off all that debt.

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Spotlight on the GRU

Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate — known as the GRU — has in recent years been blamed for a slew of things (for instance, hacking the Clinton campaign's emails, poisoning Russian former spy Sergei Skripal and others in England, and shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17). In The Daily Beast, Amy Knight lays out how the GRU — whose power was thought to be waning just a few years ago — bounced back.

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Reporters on trial

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two reporters for Reuters in Myanmar, uncovered the murder of 10 Rohingya Muslim men during a military operation, and were subsequently arrested. As Tom Lasseter reports in this special investigation for Reuters, the government's prosecution of the two men for their journalism is "seen by many as a test of the country's nascent democracy."