Namibia: for something different

  For five years now, Germany has been in talks with Namibia about making reparation for the mass murder by German troops of some 80,000 Namibians between 1904 and 1908, when the territory was under German colonial rule. Berlin has offered €10m in reparation, but descendants of the few survivors are seeking $4bn. Namibia’s president, Hage …

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The death of menswear

The middle market is the toughest part of every industry, not just fashion.  Even so, it’s striking how much pain is being felt in the “middle stratum” of US menswear, where “bankruptcies are piling up like pawed-over pairs of trousers at a clearance sale”. Names like Barneys, Brooks Brothers and J.Crew are all in “very …

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Too many people going to university?

This year, in the US, 30.2% of 18-year-olds have university places. Almost any sort of professional job requires a degree these days, and the graduate premium (the earning difference between those who did and didn’t go to university) is £10,000 a year on average. The trouble is, however, that “most people aren’t average” and, according …

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Conspiracy theories

The modern conspiracy theory is usually traced back to Augustin Barruel, a former Jesuit who argued in the 1790s that the French Revolution was the result of a clandestine intrigue dating back centuries, carried out by secret societies: Freemasons, Templars, Bavarian Illuminati, and so on. Barruel later expanded his theory to include the Jews, giving …

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London: Embracing tech distancing

Commuters, as a tribe, tend to be “unloved”.  Victorians called them “the dark horde”. T.S. Eliot compared them to the souls in hell. But now suddenly we need them, desperately. “Come back, commuters. Rally to your city. It needs your fares, your rents, your Starbucks, your Prets, your nights on the tiles.” Without them, cities …

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No end to the pharmaceutical racket!

Big Pharma giant Gilead last year dropped a sweet $31 million on its new CEO Daniel O’Day, along with marching orders to find a new path to greater profits. O’Day didn’t have to look far. The pandemic has given Gilead a new application — reducing Covid-19 recovery time — for its already developed antiviral drug …

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US universities are charging full fees for ‘virtual’ class this fall. This is absurd

Universities with huge endowments are pretending remote learning is the same experience as in person teaching.  Harvard, for instance, is offering the bulk of their courses online, as are the University of California system, Yale, and Princeton. What they all are not doing is reducing tuition, even though a significant portion of the value these …

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Entering the country

“The Trump administration is reportedly considering  blocking US citizens and permanent residents from re-entering the US if an official “reasonably” believes they could have Covid-19. Once upon a time, an American passport let you cross borders with ease – now it makes you persona non grata around the world. Not only are most Americans banned …

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Live like we used to before Covid 19?

 British government ministers speak frequently about ”it” and how they are striving to bring “it” back.  But survey by Britain Thinks found that only 12% of people want to live their lives “exactly as ‘it’ was before” the advent of Covid 19. Only  6% of Britons want the same type of economy as they had …

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The chaos and displacement started before the virus appeared

A total of 50.8 million people around the world were recorded as internally displaced in 2019, forced from their homes by conflict and disaster. This is the highest number ever, and 10 million more than in 2018. The figures come from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) in Norway. The most displacements were recorded in …

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Giving up US citizenship

A record number of people are giving up their US citizenship, according to analysis by a New York accountancy firm.  More than 5,800 Americans renounced their citizenship in the first six months of 2020, Bambridge Accountants reports, a 1,210% increase on the six months to December 2019.  The US’s global tax reporting requirements are a …

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Artificial intelligence: not so intelligent after all?

To The Economist Artificial intelligence is an oxymoron. Intelligence is an attribute of living things, and can best be defined as the use of information to further survival and reproduction. When a computer resists being switched off, or a robot worries about the future for its children, then, and only then, may intelligence flow. I …

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Population : the global crash

The world is ill-prepared for the coming global crash in children being born.  Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century.   23 nations – including Spain and Japan – are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. and there will be as many people turning 80 …

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