THE ATLANTIC

News feeds from The Atlantic magazine.

The Atlantic

  • How to Save the African National Congress
    South Africa is desperate for change. On December 18, the African National Congress party elected businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as its president. Ramaphosa, who had served as deputy president since 2012, won the position on a good governance and anti-corruption platform. His victory seemed, at least in part, a rebuke to the scandal-plagued incumbent Jacob Zuma, who has led the country for the past nine years. It also seemed like a call back to the ANC’s early years of leading South Africa out of the racial segregation and violence of apartheid: Ramaphosa rose to public prominence first as a union leader, ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-17
  • A Pair of Fiery Festivals
    Carl Court / Getty, Francisco Seco / AP In the past couple of days, festivals were held in two villages separated by language, culture, religion, and great distance, but both centered on the use of fire as a method of purification and blessing—and both were carried out with a liberal partaking in alcohol. In San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, on the eve of Saint Anthony's Day—to honor Spain's patron saint of animals—people ride horses through bonfires during the “Luminarias,” a centuries-old tradition meant to to purify and protect the animals. In Nozawaonsen, Japan, village men of the unlucky ages of ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-17
  • The Rise and Fall of Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage
    Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage are both populist figureheads known for championing their own brands of nationalism that had historic implications for their countries in 2016—in the U.S., the election of Donald Trump; in the U.K., the historic decision to leave the European Union. But two years later, these men, who rose from relative political obscurity to the center of power, appear to be falling back to where they started.In the U.S., Bannon, the former Trump ally and White House chief strategist, has fallen out of the president’s good graces after it was revealed he had lambasted the president and ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-17
  • The Koreas’ Olympic Unity Could Be Fleeting
    It looked like a breakthrough, and in a way it was. North and South Korea announced Wednesday they would not only march together under one flag at next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea’s PyeongChang, but also, for the first time at the games, field a joint women’s ice-hockey team. This announcement came after a year of high anxiety on the Korean peninsula, as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has accelerated his testing of missiles and nuclear weapons, and presented a dramatic possibility of union between two countries, who share a small patch of land that both claim in ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-17
  • The Specter of a Chinese Mole in America
    The arrest of former CIA case officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee sheds light on a shadowy counterintelligence drama that has been playing out for nearly eight years. Starting around 2010, the Central Intelligence Agency saw some of its most valuable spies inside China go down. And I don’t mean “going down” in a perp-walk-to-the-courthouse sort of way. This is China: They were executed. One was reportedly shot right outside the government building where he worked, just to make sure his coworkers got the message. The lucky ones were imprisoned. According to The New York Times, 18 to 20 CIA sources ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-17
  • Gorgeous Images of the Planet Jupiter
    NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran Launched in 2011, NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter arrived in mid-2016, and the spacecraft maneuvered into a 53-day orbit around the gas giant. The JunoCam imaging instrument, one of nine scientific instruments on board, has been returning red, green, and blue filtered images of Jupiter to Earth, and NASA is encouraging anyone to download, process, and share them. Citizen scientists like Seán Doran and Gerald Eichstädt have been finessing these images,—enhancing the existing contrasts and boosting the colors to create really amazing views of our solar system’s largest planet. ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-16
  • Not Your Average Brazilian Model
    “When we tell people we’re from the favela, they automatically think of danger, violence, mess, or worthlessness,” says Caio Guimaraes, a model featured in Geoff Levy’s short film, Rio's Different Face of Fashion. “Of course, there are bad things, but there are a lot of great things, too. It’s a magical world.” Jacarezinho, one of the largest favelas in Rio de Janeiro, is home to a modeling agency that aims to challenge stereotypes and galvanize the community. Levy’s vibrant and kinetic documentary profiles Jacaré Moda’s rising models. More than just an economic opportunity—Guimaraes had less than a dollar to ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-16
  • Hawaii and the Horror of Human Error
    The Cold War came to an end, somehow, without any of the world’s tens of thousands of nuclear warheads being fired. But there were decades-worth of close calls, high alerts, and simple mistakes that inched world leaders shockingly close to catastrophe.Saturday’s terrifying, 38-minute episode in Hawaii will not go down as one of those close calls: Residents of the state waited for the bombs to fall after receiving text messages that a ballistic missile was on its way. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Sunday said “the government of Hawaii did not have reasonable safeguards or process controls in place to ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-15
  • Pandemonium and Rage in Hawaii
    Why would my 22-year-old brother be calling so early on a Saturday morning? I’d ignored the first call. But the second time the phone rang, I picked it up. He was panicking, his voice trembling uncharacteristically: He’d just received the emergency alert warning of a ballistic missile that was heading for Hawaii, where I’m from, and where he and my family still live. “THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the alert read. My brother was alone, and had no idea what to do or where to go. And he wouldn’t have had much time to figure out a game plan—some estimates ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-14
  • Can France’s Far-Right Reinvent Itself?
    Through much of the last two years, the populist far-right seemed poised to conquer France. In the surreal aftermath of Trump and Brexit, the prospect of a victory by Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front (FN), felt alarmingly possible. After decades of mounting racism and economic insecurity, Western democracies were lashing out at the ballot box.But today, eight months after the French presidential election, the FN seems flummoxed by Emmanuel Macron, the country’s centrist president, who, with his hefty budget cuts and far-reaching welfare reforms, would seem to be the party’s ideal adversary. Instead, the Front’s deputies ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-14
  • False Alarms of the Apocalypse
    Early this morning, residents of Hawaii received an emergency alert on their cell phones and on their television screens: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER.” If that wasn’t enough to spark panic in a state where Cold War-era nuclear-attack alert sirens have been undergoing testing, the warning ended with those five dreaded words: “THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”Following several minutes of panic and confusion, various authoritative sources confirmed that the alert had been sent in error. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard took to Twitter to say that she had “confirmed with officials” that there was no ballistic missile ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-13
  • A New American Leader Rises in ISIS
    The clues are out there, if you know where to look. Scattered across far-flung corners of the internet, there is evidence that Zulfi Hoxha, the son of an Albanian-American pizza-shop owner from New Jersey, had sinister plans.First there’s the defunct Twitter profile, which at one point engaged in a conversation with a State Department counter-propaganda account about the Islamic State. Then there’s the fact that he used the social-networking site Paltalk, a communications platform reportedly popular among Western jihadis. But none of it compares to the ISIS propaganda video that, according to multiple law-enforcement officials, shows Hoxha beheading captured Kurdish ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-13
  • Overhauling Japan’s High-Stakes University-Admission System
    This weekend, more than 580,000 Japanese high-school seniors will take the country’s standardized university-entrance exam, known as the National Center Test for University Admissions. This test, commonly referred to simply as the “Center Test,” is the culmination of years of intense preparation that begins as early as kindergarten. Mothers pray in special Shinto shrines for their children’s success, and students buy daruma dolls, meant to keep evil spirits and demons away, to bring themselves good luck.They need it. The stakes of the Center Test are so high that late winter in Japan is widely known as “examination hell.” Doing well ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-13
  • How’s Democracy Holding Up After Trump’s First Year?
    In late 2016, shortly after the U.S. presidential election, two Harvard political scientists posed a bleak question in The New York Times: “Is Donald Trump a Threat to Democracy?” Now they’re out with an even more bleakly titled book—How Democracies Die—that seeks to answer that question by drawing on a year’s worth of evidence.At the core of the book is an apparent contradiction. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, who have studied the collapse of democracy in Latin America and Europe, respectively, write that they are witnessing in the United States “the precursors of democratic crisis in other places.” They contend ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-13
  • Photos of the Week: Snowy Sahara, Dancing Devils, Cryptocurrency J-Pop
    Geoff Robins / AFP / Getty The Singapore Zoo shows off its babies, a church emerges from a drying reservoir in Spain, a different church is torn down for a coal mine in Germany, ice blankets in the U.S., fog drifts in the U.K., Saudi Arabia opens its first automotive showroom solely dedicated to women, and much more. ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-12
  • What It Took to Save a North Korean Defector’s Life
    SEOUL, South Korea—In late November, a 24-year-old North Korean soldier dashed across the demilitarized zone separating North from South Korea. He barely escaped with his life as his former comrades opened fire at his back. The medical team at Ajou University Trauma Center in Suwon, about 20 miles south of Seoul, had no idea who he was when less than 25 minutes later, a military helicopter bearing a badly wounded patient touched down outside. But they knew he was dying.He was losing blood quickly, and a gunshot wound to his chest made it difficult for him to breathe. A split-second ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-12
  • A Week Around the World With The Atlantic
    What We’re WritingChange in Iran: Recent protests in Iran did not escalate into the massive popular uprising that some analysts had predicted, in part because Iranian President Hassan Rouhani still has the backing of affluent urbanites. While some experts fear that overt American support does more harm than good to protesters living under anti-American regimes, Shadi Hamid argues that the U.S. has a moral responsibility to speak up for democratic change. President Trump is expected to announce new sanctions on Iran for human-rights violations related to the protests; however, he’s reportedly planning to waive nuclear-related sanctions, upholding America’s participation in ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-12
  • Letting It Be an Arms Race
    As Americans question whether President Donald Trump has the judgment necessary to command the most capable nuclear arsenal on earth, the Pentagon is moving to order new, more usable nuclear options. Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), a Pentagon document that sets the nation’s nuclear policy, demonstrates an aggressive shift that will add to the spiraling cost of the nuclear arsenal, raise the risk of a nuclear exchange, and plunge the country into a new arms race, according to a draft published by HuffPost three weeks ahead of its planned release. Though the document is marked “pre-decisional,” insiders have told me ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-12
  • The U.K. State Visit That Never Was
    Long before Donald Trump was president of the United States, he was a real-estate mogul. So perhaps it’s fitting that, as president, he decided Friday to effectively cancel his long-anticipated visit to the United Kingdom over his displeasure with the location of the new U.S. embassy in London.While observers like London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan—with whom the president incidentally has a long-running Twitter feud—have speculated that Trump’s decision to forego the London visit had more to do with fears of protest than the new embassy, his public cancelation is also consistent with the strained status of the U.K.-U.S. “special relationship” under ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-12
  • Why Norwegians Aren’t Moving to the U.S.
    As President Trump has cracked down on illegal immigration and reportedly disparaged the ‘shithole’ countries immigrants leave, there’s at least one place from which he’d like more immigration: Norway. While in the past he’s reported to have said all Haitians “have AIDS,” likened illegal immigrants to vomit, and called for “a complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S., The Washington Post reports he mentioned Norway specifically as a place that should be sending people.But it’s not.In fiscal year 2016, 1.18 million people became legal permanent residents of the United States, according to data from the Department of Homeland ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2018-01-12