Carl Karlsson

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A view of Jodhpur, India's blue city.
food / travel

Traffic Jams And Yoga, A Skeptical German Ventures To India

Just go, leave everything behind and relax. We sent our reporter to Jodhpur, India's blue city, where he is desperately trying to disconnect with all his worldly stress.

JODHPUR — Measured against India's other urban centers, Jodhpur, known as the "blue city," is relatively small, with 2.8 million inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Still, on your first encounter, it suffocates you with both heat and noise. Soon enough, however, you will also be breathing in the most beautiful colors and most intoxicating scents of curry and saffron, cinnamon and cardamom.

It is called the blue city due to its Brahman houses that have been plastered with a mixture of indigo and whitewash to keep out the heat and insects. There is aggressive traffic like you have never seen, which may make you feel as if everyone is out to get you on two, three or four wheels — and legs.

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The Yellow River (China)
China 2.0

Mao's Aqueduct: Biggest Water Project Ever Rises In China

One of Mao's most grandiose ideas — an aqueduct stretching 3,500 kilometers — is becoming reality decades after his death. The project promises relief for China's thirsty north, but has already displaced thousands of people in its path

JINAN — The Yellow River is nothing but a brown-grey mass of moving water, bordered by banks of rubbish, and is one of the most polluted rivers in China. It's a far cry from its former beauty.

The Chinese once called it "Mother River" and the "Cradle of Chinese Civilization." The Yellow River, or Huang He, crosses the entirety of the country, 5,464 kilometers long, from its springs in the highlands of Qinghai in the West to its delta at Jinan, on the Pacific coast. It provides water for nearly 150 million people and 15% of the agricultural fields of China.

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Applied Mathematics To Design The Perfect Future City
Smarter Cities

Applied Mathematics To Design The Perfect Future City

"The city is a complex form for which there exists no equivalent in nature..."

BOSTON — Scientists are seeking to apply the complexity of urban systems into an equation, in the same way as with atomic structures or galaxies. The objective is formidable: to develop the perfect city.

Franz Ulm and Roland Pellenc, two specialists in the atomic structure of cement at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), discovered some amazing correlations by comparing the density of different cities to the periodic table. Translated into a curve, the Chicago grid structure forms an identical design to the crystalline pattern of argon, while the birthplace of grunge music, Seattle, whose incoherent structure confuses tourists, is similar to its gaseous form, flowing unchecked.

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Acuna, Lady Of The Blue Lake
Peru

Lady Of The Blue Lake, Peru's Unlikely Environmental Hero

Maxima Acuna, an illiterate farmer in the northern Peruvian region of Cajamarca, faced years of litigation — and police beatings — to protect her property from the bulldozing and toxic dumping of a US-based mining firm.

Máxima Acuña didn't set out to be a symbol of resistance. Nor did she seek the kind of international recognition that comes with winning a Goldman Environmental Prize, as she did last week. All she wanted to do was save her home and stop a pair of mining firms from turning her local lake into a toxic dump.

"I am poor and illiterate, but I know our lake and mountains are our real treasure. And I'll fight so that the Conga project doesn't destroy them," says Acuña, a Peruvian subsistence farmer who has engaged in a David vs. Goliath struggle against the Colorado-based Newport Mining Corporation and its Peruvian partner, Buenaventura.

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Viktor Orban and al Sisi in Budapest
Geopolitics

Across The World, Democracy Slides Into "Recession"

A generation ago we saw the Berlin Wall come down and Nelson Mandela go from prison to the presidency. Today, we have Orban, Erdogan, Trump. What happens next?

-Analysis-

PARIS — If we measure the world's many political models as a marketplace, liberal democracy is in a serious recession. The world is less democratic than it was 10 or 20 years ago. In democratic countries, the tide is also ebbing: Some countries are becoming less free. An ominous wind, an old authoritarian tropism is making itself known again from the South of the planet to the North.

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In Calais, France
Terror in Europe

Here's A Radical Idea: Social Injustice Is To Blame For Jihad

Why do we refuse to admit that discrimination and poverty help the spread of Islamic fanaticism? Understanding is not justifying, explaining is not forgiving.

PARIS — What leads young Europeans to kill other young Europeans in the name of jihad?

To explain something we don't understand, we invoke the term "radicalization" to denounce jihadist Islamism and desperately search for ways to "de-radicalize" those who have been caught into its net. It's fair to say that "radicalization" and "radical" have become synonymous with extremism and violence. But since this choice of words is not true to its meaning, it might be time to understand its provenance.

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Queuing at a water tank in Latur, Maharashtra, on April 20
blog

India's Water Crisis Turning Brothers Into Enemies

MUMBAI — In the western state of Maharashtra, dozens of men, women and children surround a water tanker on the main road. They hold pitchers, buckets and other containers, and are trying to fill as many as they can.

Renuka, 35, pushes her way to the top of the tanker and is able to fill her five pitchers. "I waited 15 days to get this much water. But how long will it last?" she says. "We haven't had tap water for the last two years. Our ponds and wells have dried up. There's no water at all."

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Raising the flag in Beijing
CAIXINMEDIA

The Paradox Of Nationalism In A Rising China

-Analysis-

BEIJING — After 30 years of domestic reform and opening up to the world, China is a changed country. Society has progressed, but also diversified, resulting in a true plurality of opinions about various issues. With a wink to earlier liberalizations in China, included Mao Zedong's aborted call to let "100 schools of thought contend," some have characterized this moment as "the Third Contending Era."

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April, 27, 2016
Venezuela

Venezuela To Public Workers: Stay At Home

Venezuelan public workers woke up Wednesday to newspaper headlines that told them to stay home.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced in a televised address Tuesday that the government is slashing additional working hours for the country's 2.8 million public workers in a bid to save energy, reducing the working week from four to two days. Earlier this month, the government had already reduced the working days from five to four, telling public workers not to come in on Fridays.

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From trash to bench
CLARIN

In Argentina, Recycling Household Trash Into Design Treasures

A cooperative that's giving formerly jobless Argentines a second chance has evolved from a recycling enterprise into a flourishing sustainable-design business. Many of its partners could never have seen this coming when they lost their jobs back i

BUENOS AIRES — A cooperative in the Buenos Aires area is showing household trash in a whole new light. The Creando Conciencia ("Creating Awareness") cooperative has a two-fold purpose: to recycle waste and to provide work for the jobless in and around Benavídez, north of Buenos Aires. In the process, it has become a stunning source of designer furniture.

Its new collection of street furniture, made entirely of recycled "plastic lumber," will be displayed starting April 7 in the capital's Design Museum. The cooperative's 40 or so partners are people who at some point lost their jobs — and in some cases became homeless — after 2001, when Argentina's economy entered a turbulent period. Many turned to collecting and recycling household waste and are now qualified recyclers with certificates from the University of Buenos Aires.

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Egypt's Shady World Of Amateur Porn Videos
Egypt

Egypt's Shady World Of Amateur Porn Videos

In the absence of a professional industry, amateur sex videos pose legal, ethical problems in a country that's among the world's biggest consumers of online porn.

Egypt ranks second worldwide in terms of the volume of pornography shared online, coming only after Iraq, according to the global statistical study "Who are the largest consumers of online porn?" published by SimilarWeb (an online tool that measures website traffic and analytics).

The world average for shares of online porn amounts to 4.41%, but in Egypt the number shoots up to 8%, with sexual repression usually cited as the reason.

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April 25, 2016
blog

Mexican Daily Says 'Basta' To Violence Against Women

"Enough!" writes the Mexico City daily La Prensa on the front page of its Monday edition, a day after more than 5,000 women participated in Mexico's first national march against gender violence.

Marches took place in more than 40 cities, including the Mexican capital, where a sizeable crowd protested what they see as government apathy towards widespread violence against women.

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