Marie Karas-Delcourt

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Refugees arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing from Turkey on a dinghy
Turkey

Billions In EU Aid To Turkey Hasn't Stopped Wave Of Refugees

Turkey is supposed to guard our borders against more refugees and receive financial aid for its services. But refugees fleeing to Europe across the Mediterranean keep coming.

AYVACIK — Less than six miles separate this town on Turkey's western coast from the Island of Lesbos, Greece. Nearly two-thirds of the 850,000 refugees who arrived in Europe via the Greek isles in 2015 crossed over to Lesbos.

But entering European Union territory via Turkey is supposed to have become impossible now, at least according to the Joint Plan of Action that the EU signed with Turkey at the end of November. This agreement stipulates that Turkey must patrol its coastlines more effectively and take back illegal refugees who crossed over from its territory. To be able to fulfill these terms, Turkey will receive 3 billion euros from Brussels and Turkish citizens will no longer have to apply for a visa to enter the EU.

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Google Images search for CEO
Germany

Google, Facebook And Beyond: Why Algorithms Discriminate

Yes, technology can be biased, racist and sexist. That's because the creators of algorithms are overwhelmingly white men, and the online results are becoming a huge problem in an increasingly digitized world.

MUNICH Algorithms decide who Facebook suggests you should befriend and when future self-driving cars will apply the brakes. They are a sequence of orders that can solve a problem, if applied correctly. They are supposed to be systematic, logical and produce the same result even after the umpteenth application.

But every algorithm is programmed by humans who are part of various social strata and whose work is influenced, consciously or not, by their preferences and prejudices. And the more the world is driven by technology, the more this is a problem.

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Pro-Muslim Brotherhood protesters last week in Cairo
Egypt

How Egypt Is Trying To Quash January 25 Anniversary

Five years after the revolution that overthrew the Mubarak regime, Egypt's security forces raided apartments and closed public space to send a very clear message

CAIRO — Egypt's security forces have made a series of moves to thwart any attempts to collectively commemorate Jan. 25 in downtown Cairo, where it all began five years ago.

Government officials and the Endowments Ministry have warned people against participating in protests Monday to mark Jan. 25 this year. And President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also warned against it, suggesting a new revolution would destroy the country.

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Hadza tribesmen hunting in Tanzania
Tanzania

Tribal Life In Tanzania: Poisoned Arrows, Party Politics

A tiny African tribe, the Hadza continue hunter-gatherer lives on the edge of the sedentary world. They recognize no official leaders, but vote in national elections for the most practical reasons.

GUIDA MILANDA — It's election time in Tanzania. And though the nomadic Hadza tribe won't be changing their ancient ways, they will find the path that leads to the voting booth. These archer hunter-gatherers are camped in the north of Tanzania, not far from the Kenyan border. The women gather berries and dig up roots. Men, when they're not collecting honey, shoot poisoned arrows at giraffes and baboons.

The African country's smallest ethnic group, which counts no more than 1,000 people, recognizes no official leaders nor property rights. Nevertheless, this ancient people weighs in regularly on modern politics, participating in last October's Tanzanian presidential election, casting their ballots in a polling station set up in the rugged bushland.

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FARC leader Timochenko
EL ESPECTADOR

Terrorist "Rebranding"? FARC Needs A New Look — And New Name!

No doubt the rebels cherish their history of armed struggle against the Colombian state, but if they're serious about entering politics, an image makeover is very much in order.

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — With an end to Colombia's decades-long civil war finally in sight, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerillas are expected to disarm at some point, and perhaps even enter public and political life. To accomplish the latter, they'll need to "sell" themselves to voters, a task that won't be easy for a group associated with murder, kidnappings and extortion.

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Just too much
Germany

The University Of … Stressed-Out Students

College students increasingly describe how the pressure to perform well is wreaking havoc on their well-being. Research even shows a worrying trend toward psychological conditions related to the strain. Here's how to prevent the worst.

MUNICH — Lena Zimmermann doesn't like to think about her first semester at the University of Hamburg. She missed her family and her hometown in Nordhessen. And she felt overwhelmed by the challenge to get her studies done.

"I put myself under so much pressure because I wanted to do well," the biology student says. "I could barely sleep." She wasn't feeling well, and almost every weekend drove the 400 kilometers back home to visit her parents. By the time the first Christmas holidays arrived, she thought about dropping out.

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Hello? Is there anybody out there?
Future

The Search For Aliens Is Very Real

NASA scientists believe we may be just 10 or 20 years from discovering life in outer space. While they may not manifest as the kind of fantastical creatures we see in Star Wars movies, experts are convinced they're out there.

MELBOURNE — It's unlikely that, somewhere in outer space, there are elaborate species like the ones we see in the Star Wars movies, experts say. But that doesn't mean there's no extra-terrestrial life at all. After all, the universe is huge. Big enough for living creatures of all kinds, if not as fantastical as the ones created by George Lucas & Co.

"Scientists would be truly surprised to find out that our planet is the only one in this galaxy where life has developed," says Daniel Batcheldor, an astrophysicist at the Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.

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At the Santiago, Chile headquarters of the Confucius Institute
China 2.0

How China Tries To Censor The Whole World

Already very active within the country, Chinese censorship is now being applied outside its borders, and via the Internet. What are the implications for China, and the rest of us?

-Essay-

SYDNEY — I don't know how many worthy endeavors have been quashed by Chinese censorship. What I do know, what I do feel, is that this system is destroying the imagination and creativity of the Chinese people.

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Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President al-Sisi last month in Riyadh.
Geopolitics

Twisted Saudi Humor: When A Terror Sponsor Vows To Fight Terrorists

Saudi Arabia, long a direct and indirect financier of religious fanatics, has declared war on Islamist extremism! It has 34 countries on board, some of which aren't even aware that they've joined. The punchline? It's not really abo

RIYADH Saudi Arabia has declared the creation of an Islamic front against terrorism, along with 33 other countries. Defense Minister Prince Muhammad bin Selman, who made the announcement, said the coalition will be called the Islamic Alliance Against Terror, and it fight not only ISIS but also other terror groups. The Riyadh-based coalition will provide intelligence, training and coordination support, and will first target Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Afghanistan.

Praise be!

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Lens Technology founder Zhou Qunfei
Economy

Meet Zhou Qunfei, China's Richest Woman

An in-depth interview with the 45-year-old billionaire who has developed groundbreaking lens and smart-screen technology. Business, she says, is about distinguishing between rice pots and hotels.

HUNAN — When the Hurun Research Institute recently released its 2015 list of the "richest self-made women in the world," No. 1 on the list was Chinese "touchscreen queen" Zhou Qunfei. The founder of mobile-phone glass manufacturing company Lens Technology has a net worth of $7.8 billion. Until March, when the company she founded was listed on the stock market, nobody really paid any attention to this 45-year-old entrepreneur.

In her fifth-floor office, Zhou Qunfei's desk is set at the far end. On the wall nearby, there is a hanging with a huge single Chinese character — Shan, meaning goodness. Apart from some green plants, the only objects on the desk are an Apple computer and a wooden statue of Mao Zedong. A billiard room, a kitchen and her bedroom are just next door.

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Orthorexia, a gateway to eating disorders.
food / travel

Orthorexia, The Eating Disorder Of The Health Obsessed

Orthorexia is to eating right what anorexia is to eating less. It's the condition of imposing such stringent control over one's diet, insisting on eating only healthy or organic food, and it is becoming a health concern in developed nation

BUENOS AIRES — When healthy eating becomes an obsession, it's known as "orthorexia." It affects almost a third of people in advanced countries, and is certainly no stranger here in Argentina, where we have embraced Western values and have a penchant for neurosis.

There's a difference between people who decide to eat healthier and those who turn healthy eating into a life project. The first lot can go to a backyard barbecue, for example, and take their own vegetables to cook over the fire without getting upset about what others are eating or trying to preach to them. But the orthorexia folks obsessively investigate the source and composition of every food, and spend vast amounts of time planning meals. They regard anything with fat, artificial components or preservatives as poison and impose the strictest diets on themselves, refusing to consume anything that isn't "healthy."

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