Readings

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Latin Spring?

From the Caribbean coast to Patagonia, South America is witnessing its strongest and most widespread protests in decades. What’s behind the unrest? “Unlike the popular rebellions across the Arab world nearly a decade ago,” write Anthony Faiola and Rachelle Krygier in The Washington Post, “the actors and causes of the still-unfolding uprisings in South America are as varied as the countries themselves.”

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Forgotten combat advisers

On CBC.ca, Murray Brewster has a feature on the Afghan-Canadian language and cultural advisors recruited by the Department of National Defence who “carried out some of the most dirty and dangerous assignments during Canada's war in Afghanistan.” Many of these civilians, he writes, returned injured and broken — and are struggling to seek help and recognition for their contributions.

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The last East German

This weekend marks the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Politico, Matthew Karnitschnig has a lively interview exchange with Egon Krenz, the last leader of the German Democratic Republic, who was in power for only two months. As Karnitschnig writes, Krenz sees his continued allegiance to the ideals of East Germany as a sign of “character,” not delusion.

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Farce in Xinjiang

China’s Xinjiang region is frequently under a spotlight for the mistreatment of its Uighur population. In response, reports The Globe and Mail’s Nathan VanderKlippe, authorities are going to great lengths to deceive visitors, staging “intricately managed scenes filled with pedestrians, street vendors and drivers played by people – police officers, teachers, retirees – who have been screened by the authorities and assigned roles.”

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Shuttered schools

This week, India formally stripped Kashmir of its special status and divided it into two new territories. For The New York Times, Sameer Yasir and Jeffrey Gettleman report from the region, where soldiers and militants prowl the streets. At least 1.5 million Kashmiri students are out of school, and young people worry for their future. “My dream of becoming a doctor is ruined,” one said. “Sometimes I wonder why was I even born here.”

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What ISIS left behind

For Maclean’s, Adnan Khan visited Northern Syria, reporting on how the ghosts of the world’s most violent terror group are still felt “in the tunnels they have left behind and the mines they planted; in the tens of thousands of their faceless, black-clad female followers haunting refugee camps; and in the thousands more of their dead fighters.” Given recent developments, will ISIS remain contained?

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Trial in Norway

“When a suspect in one of Norway’s most elaborate illegal employment schemes entered Oslo’s district court this month, he couldn’t stop smiling,” writes Rick Noack in The Washington Post. It turns out Arne Viste, having hired 70 undocumented migrants, is hoping a trial might force Norway to reconsider its policy of forbidding migrants in limbo — those who’ve had their asylum claims rejected but cannot be deported — from working.

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Ghost towns

Forty years after the Iranian Revolution, Iran’s population has surged by almost 50 million people, and Tehran can no longer hold everyone who wants to live there. For The New Yorker, Hashem Shakeri captures the satellite towns built by the government in response — from where some residents commute hours a day to the capital — in a series of photos that are beautiful despite the towns’ sterility.

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Offensive in Syria

This week, Turkey launched an offensive on a Kurdish militia in Syria that has been instrumental in the fight against ISIS. Tens of thousands of people are reportedly fleeing their homes, and several people have been killed. In The New York Times, Megan Specia has an explainer on Turkey’s relationship with the Kurds, how the US fits in, and what this attack could mean for an ISIS resurgence.

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Assessing Freeland

Ahead of the federal election, Globe and Mail correspondents in various continents spoke to politicians, business leaders and others to paint a picture of how Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is perceived around the world. “She’s either one of the last, best hopes of the liberal world order,” they write, “or she’s an out-of-touch idealist who is risking trade by starting diplomatic fights that Canada can’t hope to win.”

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Oh, Canada

In this essay for The Walrus, Sarmishta Subramanian asks big questions around the causes of polarization and whether Canada is immune to the deeper divisions tearing societies apart elsewhere: "Does our society simply feel more divided because there is space for voices that were always there but not heard widely in the past? Are opinions really polarizing? Is intolerance growing?" Such questions are key to understanding what's at stake this election.

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Generation Greta

"For every youngster there are potentially two parents and four grandparents. So for every million students, there could be six million adults behind them. And this means that while it may be a children’s movement, its influence is massive." In this multi-authored feature from El Pais, we meet youth in Spain, Switzerland, Mexico and beyond who are leading the way on climate action. "There has possibly never been a mass movement that has spread this fast."

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A changing North

Photographer Weronika Murray takes us to the Northwest Territories, where a climate change monitoring program combines Western science-based research and Indigenous knowledge. The program also provides continuous data collection — something that fills a research gap. For The Narwhal, Murray captures those involved in the project, explaining along the way the impact of climate change in the North and why projects like this matter.

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On truth and trust

Is it possible to have too much scepticism, William Davies asks, in this essay for The Guardian. One would think critical voters, ones with access to an infinite amount of data, would make for a more informed citizenry. But, as Davies writes, "this radically sceptical age... is a liberation of sorts, but it is also at the heart of our deteriorating confidence in public institutions."

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Poetry in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been in turmoil for months now, as pro-democracy protestors demanding political reform clash with the Beijing government. In The Globe and Mail, Nicole Baute reports on how some of the city’s writers are using poetry to capture the current climate: “There’s something about the ambiguous and metaphoric potential of poetry that makes it the perfect genre for the task.”

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The disappearing Amazon

Fifty years ago, Brazil encouraged millions of its people to colonize the Amazon. Today, the world’s largest rain forest is vanishing. “If things continue as they are now, the Amazon might not exist at all within a few generations, with dire consequences for all life on earth,” writes Matt Sandy, who travelled thousands of miles to the front lines of deforestation with photographer Sebastian Liste-Noor for TIME.

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Hezbollah and Israel

Over the past few years, Hezbollah has been occupied with propping up Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. But now, “Hezbollah fighters suggest they’re more than ready to renew their old hostilities with the hated Israelis,” writes Sulome Anderson from Lebanon for Foreign Policy, “even if it happens by accident.” How likely is the resumption of fighting between these two old enemies?

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ISIS women

For The Washington Post, Louisa Loveluck and Souad Mekhennet report from the sprawling al-Hol camp in Syria, where 20,000 women who lived under the ISIS caliphate are being held. Residents and camp authorities say the women, from various countries, are imposing a “reign of fear,” with “mounting anger, violence and fanaticism growing amid the squalor.” With few foreign governments willing to take them back, what is the future of the camp?

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Crisis in Italy

Italy’s parliament is in chaos this week, after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned as a result of the scuppering of his coalition government by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Italy’s Senate has already passed Salvini’s anti-immigration security decree, which lays out punitive measures for ships rescuing migrants in Italian waters. What happens if Salvini manages to become prime minister? Cecilia Butini reports for Foreign Policy.

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Syria, after war

After half a year, New York Times correspondent Vivian Yee, her interpreter and her photographer were finally granted entry into Syria, where they spent eight days documenting what “victory” — after a civil war that cost half a million lives — looks like: “We found ruin and generosity, people grieving and people getting through the day. Suffering had been unequally distributed…The recovery, too, was unevenly shared.”