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  • Peter Geoghegan writes at Open Democracy about the mess that Brexit has made of Ireland, two decades after the Troubles' end.

  • Anthrodendum's Alex Golub notes that a North Korean attack on Guam, among other things, would threaten the Chamorro natives of the island.

  • The Toronto Star carries an excerpt from a book by Mark Dowie looking at how the Haida, of Haida Gwaii, managed to win government recognition of their existence.

  • CBC's Sameer Chhabra explores how Canadian students at Caribbean medical schools find it very difficult to get jobs back home.

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  • blogTO notes a threat to some of Liberty Village's historic buildings through development.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at planetary formation around close binary SDSS 1557, which includes a white dwarf.

  • False Steps' Paul Drye announces a new book project, They Played the Game, which looks at how different baseball players overlooked in our history might have become stars had things gone differently.

  • Language Hat looks at the linguistic differences between the two Koreas.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the exploitation of Syrian refugees by Turkish garment manufacturers.

  • The LRB Blog examines the phenomenon of myth-making regarding Sweden.
  • The Map Room Blog links to a website sharing the stories of cartographers.

  • The NYRB Daily notes the chaos that Trump will be bringing to American immigration law.

  • Peter Rukavina talks about his experience as a library hacker.

  • Supernova Condensate is optimistic about the potential of Space X to actually inaugurate an era of space tourism.

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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the SPECULOOS red dwarf observation program.

  • The Crux examines VX nerve agent, the chemical apparently used to assassinate the half-brother of North Korea's ruler.

  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the inhabitants of the Tokyo night, like gangsters and prostitutes and drag queens.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines Donald Trump's tepid and belated denunciation of anti-Semitism.

  • Language Log looks at the story of the Wenzhounese, a Chinese group notable for its diaspora in Italy.

  • The LRB Blog looks at the by-elections in the British ridings of Stoke and Copeland and notes the problems of labour.

  • The Map Room Blog shares a post-Brexit map of the European Union with an independent Scotland.

  • Marginal Revolution reports that a border tax would be a poor idea for the United States and Mexico.

  • The NYRB Daily looks at the art of the medieval Tibetan kingdom of Guge.

  • Otto Pohl notes the 73rd anniversary of Stalin's deportation of the Chechens and the Ingush.

  • Supernova Condensate points out that Venus is actually the most Earth-like planet we know of. Why do we not explore it more?

  • Towleroad notes Depeche Mode's denunciation of the alt-right and Richard Spencer.

  • Whatever's John Scalzi considers the question of feeling empathy for horrible people.

  • Window on Eurasia notes the thousands of Russian citizens involved with ISIS and examines the militarization of Kaliningrad.

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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly writes about the importance of truth in journalism.

  • Crooked Timber looks at the example of Trump and wonders why that kind of charismatic authoritarianism is popular.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a model of the inner debris disk of HR 8799.

  • Far Outliers looks at the cultural divergences between North and South Koreans.

  • Language Hat looks at the complexities of translating the obscenities of the Marquis de Sade.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the collapse of unions and makes a limited defense of Castro.

  • Marginal Revolution links to a plan in the United States to make social science research more productive.

  • The NYRB Daily shares Masha Gessen's article talking about the hard choices she had to make in Putin's Russia and their relevance to the United States.

  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia's Ukrainian policy may be self-destructive.

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  • Crooked Timber looks at how evolutionary psychology can be used to justify monarchy.

  • Far Outliers shares an excerpt describing how methamphetamine is used as a secondary currency in North Korea.

  • The Frailest Thing shares quotes examining the link between seeing something and liking it.
  • Language Hat talks about ways of voicing surprise.
  • Language Log looks at a linguistically mixed language of China.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues the recounts are far more likely to help Trump than Clinton.

  • Marginal Revolution points to an interesting book on the Cuban economy.

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at the idea of a sanctuary city in the context of American federalism.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at the complex legalities surrounding religion and disbelief in Russia.

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  • A BCer in Toronto mourns the declining standards behind the Tim Horton's apple fritter.

  • blogTO notes that the Toronto vs everybody T-shirt has been redone in the original Iroquoian.

  • Centauri Dreams considers Project Orion.

  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage North Korean anti-American art.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper suggesting that Mars' climate may have been cold but for impacts and volcanism.

  • Far Outliers examines the booming Nanjing of the 1930s.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at the Long Island Universiy strike.

  • The NYRB Daily examines Hillary Clinton's troubles.

  • Personal Reflections uses a bus fire to examine the fragility of modern systems.

  • Towleroad shares news, and footage, of a Tom of Finland biopic.

  • Window on Eurasia links to a report sharing the costs of Russian aggression in Ukraine, including at least ten thousand people reported dead.

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  • Bloomberg notes the rise of populism in Mexico, looks at how Europe is losing its reputation as a renewable energy leader, looks at political protest in Zimbabwe, and looks at changing habits of Saudi oil ministers.

  • Bloomberg View notes the politicization of the Israeli army, looks at an effort to smuggle Korean pop culture into North Korea, and considers strategies to encourage Japanese to have more children.

  • The Globe and Mail considers the risky strategy of marijuana growers, who hope to get the government to back down as they do their thing before legalization.

  • MacLean's notes that the outcry over the shooting of the gorilla in the Cleveland zoo is misconceived, and reports on Kamal al-Solaylee's book about being brown.

  • NOW Toronto notes that one argument raised against letting permanent residents vote in Toronto is that Donald Trump allegedly has an apartment here. (Wrong, on multiple grounds.)

  • Open Democracy looks at how British authoritarianism is restrained by the European Union.

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  • Bloomberg notes two former British intelligence chiefs saying that the United Kingdom is safer within the European Union than without, wonders if Saudi Arabia will be able to accept the economic shocks involved in transitioning away from oil, suggests South Australia could profit hugely from storing nuclear waste, and shares one journalist's experiences inside North Korea.

  • Via The Dragon's Tales, I came across this Gizmag article reporting on a Dutch family living in a greenhouse.

  • The Inter Press Service notes controversies surrounding transnational humanitarianism.

  • The National Post wonders what non-endorsements of Trump by prominent members of the Republican Party will do to this institution.

  • Open Democracy writes about the ongoing revolution in gender relations in the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Rojava.

  • Wired reports on Sweden's ongoing transition away from cash to a completely digital economy.

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  • 3 Quarks Daily notes a Financial Times article on the rebirth of brutalism.

  • Bloomberg looks at the Polish opposition's upcoming protest and notes the promise of North Korea's leaders not to use nuclear weapons first.

  • CBC notes the likely permanent displacement of many from Fort McMurray and reports on the failure of Marvel's movies to be as progressive as the comics.

  • The Globe and Mail wonders if the NDP will survive.

  • MacLean's notes the Parti Québécois' planned leadership convention this fall.

  • Scientific American notes that global warming makes fires like Fort McMurray's more likely.

  • The Toronto Star notes the likely role of surveillance and predictive policing in the future.

  • Universe Today notes that Enceladus' water jets seem to occur when the moon is furthest from Saturn.

  • Wired notes the lack of an official Google Play desktop app in an article about people who designed a desktop app themselves.

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  • Bloomberg notes the upcoming meeting of North Korea's governing party, observes the absence of a groundswell in favour of Brexit in the United Kingdom, and notes NIMBYism can appear in many forms.

  • CBC reports on the upcoming summit of North American leaders, notes Mike Duffy's first appearance in the Senate, reports on the likely huge toll of insurance payouts in Fort McMurray, and notes the dependence of many Syrian refugees on food banks in Canada.

  • The Independent notes that Brexit might depend on the votes of Wales, which could be swayed either way by the fate of the Port Talbot steel plant.

  • The Inter Press Service notes, in a photo essay, how Third World farmers are seeking a technological revolution for their industry.

  • National Geographic notes how Atlantic City is coping with rising seas, mainly badly in ways which hurt the poor.

  • Open Democracy considers the Argentine government's likely approach to geopolitics in the South Atlantic.

  • Universe Today notes the possible discovery of a new particle and looks at how Ceres might, or might not, be terraformed.

  • Wired looks at a new documentary on film projectionists and reports on the difficulties of fighting the Alberta wildfire.

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    view.com/articles/2016-04-21/malaysia-s-immigration-mess">examines immigration controversies in Malaysia.
  • CBC notes that Manulife is now providing life insurance for HIV-positive people.

  • Gizmodo reports from the Pyongyang subway.

  • The Guardian notes the sequencing of Ozzy Osbourne's DNA.

  • The National Post reports that Québec NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brosseau might well be considering a run for the NDP leadership.

  • Newsweek reports on the decision of the Wall Street Journal to run an ad denying the Armenian genocide.

  • Finally, there has been much written after the death of Prince. Some highlights: The Atlantic looks at how he was a gay icon, Vox shares 14 of his most important songs, the Toronto Star notes his connection to Toronto, Dangerous Minds shares videos of early performances, The Daily Beast explains Prince's stringent control of his content on the Internet, and In Media Res mourns the man and some of his songs.

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  • Centauri Dreams considers, among other things, studies of Alpha Centauri.

  • D-Brief talks about the unexpected chill of Venus' poles.

  • The Dragon's Tales shares a photo of the San Francisco shoreline.

  • Far Outliers notes the rare achievements of Michael the Brave.

  • Joe. My. God. notes the recent finding by an American court that transgendered students are protected.

  • The LRB Blog reports on the nuitards.

  • Marginal Revolution notes some of the singular failure of the Brazilian economy over the past century.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer wonders why some people apparently call Russia and North Korea the 51st states.

  • pollotenchegg maps election results onto declared language in Ukraine.

  • Savage Minds starts a series on decolonizing anthropology.

  • Torontoist celebrates the tenth anniversary of Type Books.

  • Transit Toronto notes upcoming repairs to Ossington.

  • Window on Eurasia reports on Russian fears that the Russian economy might be doomed to stagnate.

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  • Bloomberg notes the defection of 13 North Korean workers at an overseas restaurant to the South, reports that Venezuela has declared Friday a holiday to try to save on power consumption, wonders if low oil prices will hurt the Philippines through diminished remittances from the Middle East, notes that Russian efforts at import substitution are failing, and argues against a $15 minimum wage in the United States.

  • The Inter Press Service reports on how forests can help solve urban water scarcity issues.

  • MacLean's notes the general attack in Alberta on Mulcair, from the NDP and from the Wildrose Party.

  • The National Post notes the export of old homes from British Columbia to the United States, and looks at how Russia's targeting of terrorists' families works out.

  • The Dragon's Tales linked to this PNAS article speculating as to why Mars is so small relative to Earth.

  • Wired notes how a study that was product of fraud ended up apparently being confirmed by research conducted by the same whistleblowers. How tragic for the first author.

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  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the idea of navies to keep sea lanes open.

  • The Dragon's Tales links to a paper speculating how Planet Nine formed.

  • Geocurrents shares slides examining the Brazilian crisis.

  • Joe. My. God. reports on the Colombian constitutional court's approval of same-sex marriage.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money wonders what will happen to the North Korean army's soldiers in the case of state failure.

  • maximos62 notes the historical influences of Chinese and Indonesians in Australia, particularly in the north of the country.

  • pollotenchegg maps the shifting distribution of the Ukrainian population from 1939.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer talks about, among other things, the New York City accent.

  • Understanding Society looks at the ideologies and institutions which will help improve life in rural India.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's problems with dealing with its past and observes that the West did not want the Soviet Union to disintegrate.

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  • The Inter Press Service suggests climate change is contributing to a severe drought in Nicaragua.

  • Reuters notes China's plan to implement sanctions against North Korea.

  • Atlas Obscura explores the now-defunct medium of vinyl movies.

  • Science goes into detail about the findings that many pre-contact American populations did not survive conquest at all.

  • CBC notes evidence that salmon prefer dark-walled tanks.

  • Universe Today notes the discovery of a spinning neutron star in the Andromeda Galaxy.

  • Vice's Motherboard notes how Angolan users of free limited-access internet sites are sharing files through Wikipedia.

  • MacLean's notes how an ordinary British Columbia man's boudoir photos for his wife have led to a modelling gig.

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Heejin Kim of Bloomberg notes that Chinese upset at the South Korean deployment of an anti-missile defense system might derail the two countries' close relationship.

South Korean consumer shares, 2015’s stock-market darlings as tourists from China flocked to Seoul department stores, are now among the nation’s worst performers this year as a missile spat cools relations between the neighbors.

A measure of such companies on the MSCI Korea Index has tumbled 5.9 percent in 2016 through Wednesday after its best annual gain in a decade sent valuations to a four-year high relative to the broader gauge. Orion Corp., a confectioner that earns more than half its revenue in China, and cosmetics maker Amorepacific Corp. are among the biggest decliners as the U.S. and South Korea consider installing the Thaad missile-defense system on the peninsula.

Policy makers in Beijing have objected, saying the shield designed to protect against North Korea’s nuclear threat covers more Chinese territory than the Koreas combined. Kee Hosam, a money manager at Dongbu Asset Management Co., recalls how Japanese stocks were sold off in 2012 amid a spat with China over islands in the East China Sea. The suspension of government-level exchanges or trade sanctions have been used in similar disputes.

“We can’t help worrying about China’s response,” said Seoul-based Kee, who helps oversee $10.6 billion in assets and has offloaded consumer plays linked to China from his portfolio. “We are concerned an unexpected issue could break out due to the conflict over Thaad.”
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Blooomberg features an extended examination of how Chinese interests have been helping North Korea beat international sanctions.

A trail of money stretching from a Panamanian shipping agent to an octogenarian Singaporean to a Chinese bank provides a window on why U.S. efforts to tighten sanctions on North Korea may be harder to achieve than in the case of Iran.

For decades North Korea has built networks of front companies and foreign intermediaries to channel currency in and out, circumventing attempts to isolate it over its nuclear-weapons program. Court documents and interviews with investigators, banks and prosecutors show the cornerstone of those networks is China.

"Its geographic proximity, the huge trade volume, having the contacts, and having the historic relationship all contribute to making China the center point for any North Korean initiative to evade international financial sanctions," said William Newcomb, a former member of a panel of experts assisting the United Nations’ North Korea sanctions committee. "China is a very important piece in making sure that blockages work."

[. . .]

North Korea relies on China, its biggest trading partner, for food, arms and energy. The countries describe their ties as "friendship forged by blood" during the 1950-1953 Korean War where the U.S. was a common foe. China has criticized North Korea for provocative actions but historically opposed harsh sanctions that might precipitate a regime collapse and a flood of refugees across its 870-mile (1,400 kilometer) shared border.

To inject life into an economy made moribund by the fall of the Iron Curtain, failed centralized policies and sanctions, Kim Jong Un needs foreign currency to pay for equipment from abroad, such as the recent purchase of Russian jets to upgrade the national airline.
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Bloomberg's Sam Kim notes the continued breakdown of inter-Korean relations, as South Korea pulls out of the Kaesong industrial park in the north. A more recent news report suggested the North nationalized the holdings of the South there.

South Korea is pulling out of an industrial complex jointly run with North Korea, taking aim at their last remaining symbol of economic cooperation to punish Kim Jong Un for a recent nuclear test and rocket launch.

“An extraordinary measure is needed to force North Korea to give up its nuclear arms,” South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong Pyo told reporters Wednesday. The government did not want companies and funds for the Gaeseong factory park used for North Korea’s nuclear and missile development, Hong said.

The withdrawal, which takes effect immediately, will impact more than 120 South Korean companies employing about 54,000 North Korean workers at the complex that sits just north of the heavily armed border.

South Korea is seeking to dry up North Korea’s coffers at a time China, while condemning Kim’s actions, has been reluctant to support tougher sanctions -- including on energy imports -- that could destabilize an ally. South Korea is also considering opening its soil to a U.S. ballistic missile defense system opposed by China.

Gaeseong has long been viewed as a source of hard currency for the isolated government in Pyongyang, which had no immediate response to the decision. North Korea has received 616 billion won ($514 million) in cash since the complex began in the early 2000’s, including 132 billion won last year alone, Hong said. South Korea’s government and private citizens have invested more than 1 trillion won, he said.
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  • Centauri Dreams looks at the latest findings from repurposed Kepler.

  • The Dragon's Gaze examines the stars of the apparently most habitable exoplanets found by Kepler and speculates as to the impact of stellar cosmic rays on the habitability of worlds in red dwarf systems.

  • The Dragon's Tales examines the differences between carbon emissions from different Indonesian fires.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how black pain has been ignored at least as far back as the end of slavery, when black families tried to reunite.

  • Marginal Revolution notes North Korean incomprehension of American motives.

  • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer applauds the Mexican soda tax.

  • Towleroad notes crime in the United Kingdom visited on users of Grindr.

  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the good bits of the 1990s are underestimated by many Russians and warns that Kadyrov's appropriation of North Caucasian traditions risks encouraging Islamism.

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MacLean's carries an Associated Press article noting China's displeasure with North Korea's newest nuclear test. Angering North Korea's only ally cannot possibly be a good strategy, I'd think.

China sees North Korea’s claim to have conducted its first hydrogen bomb test as yet another act of defiance, and will likely retaliate by joining tougher United Nations sanctions and could possibly even impose its own trade restrictions.

Wednesday’s test was staged close enough to the border to send palpable tremors into northeastern China, prompting schools to be evacuated. The political reverberations in Beijing will likely be just as dramatic, boding ill for a relationship already under strain.

“Relations will become colder than ever,” said Lu Chao, director of the Border Studies Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences in the northeastern province that borders North Korea.

North Korea acted “wilfully in disregard of the opposition of the international community, including China, and caused a real threat to the lives of the Chinese people living along the border,” Lu said.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it would summon Pyongyang’s ambassador to Beijing to lodge a formal protest, and said environmental officials were monitoring air quality near the border though they had found nothing abnormal so far.


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