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TOPIC: world


Climate To Costa Concordia: How Humans Are Wired For Denial

In 2012, the same year the Costa Concordia cruise ship sank off of Giglio Island, David Quammen published his book Spillover, which predicted that somewhere in Asia a virus would be attacking the human respiratory tract on its way to becoming a global pandemic. And so it was. This terrible shipwreck, which the world watched in slow-motion exactly ten years ago on January 13, 2012, now appears to us — just like the COVID-19 pandemic, like the trailer of a horror film we are now all living for real.

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7 Ways The Pandemic May Change The Airline Industry For Good

Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.

It's hard to overstate the damage the pandemic has had on the airline industry, with global revenues dropping by 40% in 2020 and dozens of airlines around the world filing for bankruptcy. One moment last year when the gravity became particularly apparent was when Asian carriers (in countries with low COVID-19 rates) began offering "flights to nowhere" — starting and ending at the same airport as a way to earn some cash from would-be travelers who missed the in-flight experience.

More than a year later today, experts believe that air traffic won't return to normal levels until 2024.

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A Touching Tale Of Leprosy In Kashmir

"We all have the same story here. After my family abandoned me, it was these people who adopted me and looked after me for all these years."

SRINAGAR — Nizamuddin Bajad, who claims to be 100 years old, was a young man when he arrived in a leper colony situated on the banks of Nigeen lake, far from the noise and crowd of Srinagar city.

Bajad, a resident of Chattaragul village in Ganderbal district, had lived all his life as a nomad, traveling across stretches of Jammu and Kashmir with his flock of sheep and goats. Then one day, he suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease.

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I'm Vaccinated, Now Let Me Live! Time To Set The Inoculated Free

Die Welt journalist Peter Huth argues that those who can't catch COVID-19 should not be subject to any more virus rules and restrictions, and allowed to return to normal life.


BERLIN — I experienced everything that the coronavirus pandemic had to throw at us: health problems, private irritation, responsible behavior, restrictions on personal freedom, endless patience and financial issues. From contracting coronavirus last April and being ill for a long time to receiving my vaccination, I've been through it all.

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Emma Flacard

Different Ways The World Is Commemorating COVID-19's Victims

From a Swiss music box to a Chilean quilt, different projects seek to leave a tangible sign of those we've lost.

How do we remember those we've lost to COVID? A year ago, we learned how health restrictions wouldn't allow loved ones to pay their respects at in-person funerals or memorials. Now, with society as a whole facing the sheer scale of the loss of life caused by this pandemic, what can we do to commemorate its countless victims? Since March 2020, people from all over the world have been searching for new ways to pay tribute to the dead. From Switzerland to Mexico, mourners have explored different approaches to commemorating.

  • Switzerland: Telling a dramatic story through music — this was the idea of Swiss journalist Simon Huwiler, who created a music box whose singular tune was based on the daily number of people who lost their lives to the virus since last year, reports SWI swissinfo.ch. The holes in the music paper correspond to COVID victims. The song slowly and swiftly opens up and speeds up from the middle till the end of the song, illustrating the devastating death toll of the first and second waves of the pandemic. The journalist explains his artwork as a means to "make it more visible, to move people."

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Jean-Marc Vittori

Risk Lessons, From A Grounded Ship In Suez To A Global Pandemic

A pandemic and a maritime accident teach us the same lessons: humility, fragility and ultimately human ingenuity. Risk is impossible to predict, except that we know it always exists.


A monster made out of steel can also fear the elusive Aeolus. This is the case for the Ever Given. A gust of wind was enough to make this enormous container ship — longer than the Eiffel Tower and twenty times heavier — run aground in the Suez Canal.

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Farid Kahhat

Biden On Trade: Trump-Like Protectionism, With A Smile

The Democrat Joe Biden may not sound as aggressive as Trump in protectionist policy to support American firms global competitors, but will broadly follow his policies.


LIMA — I've written before that overall, there were reasons for believing that the new U.S. administration will be better for Latin America than the last one. Still, there is one big exception: international trade. Considering what President Joe Biden has said and done since his campaign began, we have sufficient reasons to believe that his too will be a protectionist administration.

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Benjamin Witte

Huge Haul Of Whale Vomit Worth Millions For Fishermen In Yemen

It's a modern tale with a rich and fragrant whiff of Jonah and the Whale, when a group of Yemeni fishermen made the catch of their lives this week in the Gulf of Aden.

After a large, dead whale was spotted floating in the waters of the coast of Yemen, 37 fishermen helped drag it ashore, the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National reported. But what they found in the belly of the beast could make them incredibly rich in one of the world's poorest countries: a giant blob of unexpelled and very valuable vomit.

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Rozena Crossman

Population Questions, Pandemic Answers

COVID-19 makes us think about things we should've been thinking about anyway. And since the beginning of the outbreak, we've all been keeping a closer eye than usual on the hard truths of statistics: From daily global emissions (down by 17%) to the number of precarious workers in the world (1.6 billion), as well as those scary new pandemic numbers of death tolls and transmission rates. But there is one big stat lurking in the shadows that coronavirus puts in a new light: the human population on planet Earth.

"It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion – then in just another 200 years or so, it grew sevenfold," says the UN's website for World Population Day. This annual event, which took place this year on July 11th, is meant to raise awareness about the dangers of overpopulation for both humans and the planet. It is a problem that COVID-19 may have exacerbated, as counterintuitive as that may sound, as pregnancy rates have tended to rise in countries forced into lockdown.

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Carlos Espósito*

Globalization Under Fire, From Protectionism To Pandemic

The world's prevailing trade system was facing major challenges even before the pandemic. But that doesn't mean globalization is destined to die.


MADRID — The pandemic has had a brutal impact on globalization, so it's only reasonable that people are questioning whether COVID-10 will spell the system's eventual demise.

The rules governing international trade took a hit months before the virus appeared, with a proliferation of protectionist measures, budding trade wars and especially the U.S. administration's decision to block the reappointment of the WTO's appellate body judges. The latter effectively halted the trade organization's disputes resolution mechanism from Dec. 10, 2019.

But what's happened since then — with lockdowns and border closures — is a different type of challenge, and one that's defined by the immensity of its scope. Indeed, the measures states have taken to protect people from the virus are affecting all economic areas: tourism, aviation, the global economy's value chains, higher education... all of that and more!

As a result, obituaries have begun to appear for globalization. The philosopher John Gray has declared that its apogee is past and we are moving into a less interconnected world that will function more online and have more physical restrictions.

Such trends are evident, but it is too early to be certain about the world order we may expect once we emerge from the pandemic, especially when we don't even know what the "end" of this pandemic means exactly.

More useful are the arguments put forth by jurists Nicolas Lamp and Anthea Roberts, who believe there is no single answer to whether or not the virus is killing globalization. They contend that numerous narratives are fighting to forward their version of reality before this global crisis.

They are approximative discourses, with narratives that run the gamut. Some are globalizing (this is an opportunity, they argue, to improve global cooperation against a global virus). Others are climatic (it's time for economic reconversion), security-oriented (fighting the virus pertains to national security), democratic (authoritarian regimes are worse at fighting the virus), authoritarian (democratic regimes are a disadvantage in imposing anti-virus measures), conservative (the virus further proves the need to curb migratory flows) or progressive (we need universal healthcare and universal basic income systems).

We could be looking at a world of much more isolated states.

With due caution in predicting any global model to come, one can already say that this crisis and preceding developments herald some profound changes to the way the world economy is organized. There is even talk of a new form of sovereignty — strategic sovereignty — whose contours remain vague for now.

The idea carries some central tenets like power and responsibility, as part of a primordial concern with the state's duty to protect its citizens and essential goods like food, drugs and technologies. Its emphasis is on the idea of resilience. A fragmented world peppered with strategic sovereignties seems incompatible with hyper-globalization, but the process has yet to become definitive.

We could be looking at a world of much more isolated states, with exclusive regulatory regimes that may be harsher for weaker states, and costlier for the powerful ones. Or we may see a different type of globalization, more limited in its forms and contents, and with different goals. Its emphasis may become regulating global public goods, within a framework of strong and genuine international cooperation.

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Michaela Kozminova

Coronavirus Covers: How Global Magazines Feature COVID-19

What Chinese authorities first treated as dozens of cases of unknown pneumonia in the Hubei province, has now become a global health emergency. In about three months, the respiratory novel coronavirus illness called COVID-19 has expanded to nearly all corners of the globe, so far leaving over 100,000 people infected and more than 4,000 dead.

After spreading into Japan and South Korea, the virus has now been confirmed in every European Union member country, with Italy becoming the first country to enforce a nation-wide lockdown as the death count tops 600.

Here's how coronavirus has looked on magazine covers around the world in recent weeks:



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Watch: OneShot — 75 Years Ago, Liberation of Auschwitz

It was 3 p.m. on January 27, 1945, when the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated by the Soviet Army. The full scope of the Nazi barbarities, which included the extermination of six million Jews, was about to be exposed to the world.

That January afternoon 75 years ago also marks the beginning of the documenting process, the painful but necessary gathering of evidence, accounts, photographs and film that would later be used in the Nuremberg war crimes trials, and stand as the historical record of the Holocaust.

About 1.3 million people (mostly Jews) had been deported to the Polish camp by the Nazi regime. In Auschwitz, 1.1 million people were exterminated. Before they were taken to the gas chamber, they would leave their personal effects behind; eyeglasses, clothing, shoes. These objects were found after the liberation, piled up in the warehouses at the camp.

Liberation of Auschwitz © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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