Today, the most brutal members of Autocracy Inc. don't much care if their countries are criticized, or by whom. The leaders of Myanmar don't really have any ideology beyond nationalism, self-enrichment, and the desire to remain in power. The leaders of Iran confidently discount the views of Western infidels. The leaders of Cuba and Venezuela dismiss the statements of foreigners on the grounds that they are "imperialists." The leaders of China have spent a decade disputing the human-rights language long used by international institutions, successfully convincing many people around the world that these "Western" concepts don't apply to them. Russia has gone beyond merely ignoring foreign criticism to outright mocking it.

And that radio station everyone was reacting to? It wasn’t even in Guatemala. The disc jockeys aired their “reports” from a shack in Nicaragua. Many of their broadcasts had actually been prerecorded earlier in the year.

In Florida.

In an office belonging to the Central Intelligence Agency.

The radio station that had all of Guatemala in such a frenzy was part of a secret CIA “terror program based on Orson Welles,” declassified documents now show. It was overseen by an American actor and spy novelist whose salary was paid by U.S. tax dollars. The whole operation was, to use today’s parlance, “fake news.”

The APBA began pushing back against plastics restrictions around the country in 2011. Around 2015, the industry group upped its game. Rather than just opposing individual bans, the APBA began lobbying for state preemption laws. The approach, which another Koch brothers-affliated group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, has used to fight local action on other issues, including pesticide restrictions and living wage laws, prevents cities and towns from passing local plastic bans. In the past eight years, the American Chemistry Council has helped pass preemption bills based on ALEC’s model in 13 states. According to Seaholm, who joined the group in 2016, 42 percent of Americans now live in states where they can’t pass local bans on plastics.

It may come as an even greater surprise that bushido once received more recognition abroad than in Japan. In 1900 writer Inazo Nitobe's published Bushido: The Soul of Japan in English, for the Western audience. Nitobe subverted fact for an idealized imagining of Japan's culture and past, infusing Japan's samurai class with Christian values in hopes of shaping Western interpretations of his country.

Though initially rejected in Japan, Nitobe's ideology would be embraced by a government driven war machine. Thanks to its empowering vision of the past, the extreme nationalist movement embraced bushido, exploiting The Soul of Japan to pave Japan's way to fascism in the buildup to World War II.

In an expertly designed data visualization, the Times guided us through its own version of events, which boils down to: Hamas started it, and Israel responded in self-defense. Data from the last three flare-ups is included in the same way, gently suggesting to readers that this is a pattern.

What follows is a breakdown of some ways that design can be misused to tell a biased story.

US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan have killed as many as 1,147 unknown people in failed attempts to kill 41 named individuals, a report by human rights charity Reprieve has found.

The report looks at deaths resulting from US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan between November 2002 and November 2014. It identifies 41 men who appeared to have been killed multiple times – drawing into question the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the covert drone programme is ‘precise.’

While the US drone programme is shrouded in secrecy, security sources regularly brief the media on the names of those suspected militants targeted or killed in the strikes. Frequently, those individuals are reported to have been targeted or killed on multiple occasions.

I was only in North Korea for five days, but that was more than enough to make it clear that North Korea is every bit as weird as I always thought it was.

We covet diamonds in America for a simple reason: the company that stands to profit from diamond sales decided that we should. De Beers’ marketing campaign single handedly made diamond rings the measure of one’s success in America. Despite its complete lack of inherent value, the company manufactured an image of diamonds as a status symbol. And to keep the price of diamonds high, despite the abundance of new diamond finds, De Beers executed the most effective monopoly of the 20th century.

It's great to see Africa starting to explore the benefits of open source not only as a way of rolling out software more cheaply than would be the case for proprietary programs, whose Western pricing makes them particularly costly for emerging nations, but also as an effective means of building up a vibrant indigenous software industry that is not based simply on shovelling lots of money to the US.

However, it's sad to see that Microsoft seems to have learned nothing from its earlier, unsuccessful attempts to spread FUD about open source, and seems intent on recapitulating that shabby and rather pathetic history in Africa too.

According to reports in the Associated Press, the setting up of China's Confucius Peace Prize was intended to protest the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize award to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

This year will witness the third Confucius Peace Prize since its setup. However, the previous two award ceremonies of this prize didn't go very well. The laureates selected never showed up nor even cared about receiving such a prize.

Some observers saw the affair as a complete farce. The award was given to a terrified small child, supposed to represent Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan at the first ceremony and two Russian hotties, supposed to represent Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the second, which just added to the entertainment value.

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