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  • When China Convinced the U.S. That Uighurs Were Waging Jihad
    They arrived at the American detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—where, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it, the “worst of the worst” would be held—a few months after 9/11, directly from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan. There were 22 of them, all men, all of them Muslim, bearded, ranging in age from their early 20s to their mid-40s. Five had been captured by American forces following a battle in northern Afghanistan, and the other 17 were seized by police in Pakistan.But there was something different about these detainees: All were members of China’s Uighur minority, a Turkic group chafing under ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-19
  • Britain’s Distrust of Europe Helped Cause Brexit. Now It Could Stop It.
    LONDON—When Brexit-backing lawmakers voted twice to reject Theresa May’s negotiated deal on the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, they did so largely out of distrust. Principally, they worried that the prime minister’s plan would risk binding the country to EU rules and regulations indefinitely, and that the EU, contrary to its many assurances, would act in bad faith to see that happen.Distrust of Europe and its institutions here in Britain is hardly a new phenomenon. In fact, it was one of the central themes underlying the Brexit campaign. But this distrust, paradoxically, might pose a ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-18
  • The Truth About Wasabi
    Have you ever eaten wasabi? If you answered “yes” to that question, you are likely mistaken. Most sushi eaters—even in Japan—are actually being served a mixture of ground horseradish and green food coloring, splashed with a hint of Chinese mustard. Worldwide, experts believe that this imposter combination masquerades as wasabi about 99 percent of the time. The reason boils down to supply and demand. Authentic wasabi, known as Wasabia japonica, is the most expensive crop in the world to grow. The temperamental semiaquatic herb, native to the mountain streams of central Japan, is notoriously difficult to cultivate. Once planted, ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-18
  • France’s Yellow Vests Are Rebels Without a Cause
    PARIS—A crisis of representative democracy is unfolding in France. For months now, President Emmanuel Macron has been crisscrossing the country for a grand débat, a series of town meetings he called in January to address the discontent embodied by the “yellow vest” movement. These demonstrations began as a protest of a fuel-tax hike and have now evolved into a wave of economic anxiety and anti-establishment sentiment—with bursts of violence, such as the torching of banks and businesses in Paris this past weekend. The latest incidents, part of “Act 18” of the movement’s weekly Saturday protests, were planned to mark the ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-18
  • Trying to Kill the Iran Deal Could End Up Saving It
    The Trump administration has made a priority of punishing and pressuring Iran. But the same administration that withdrew from the nuclear deal that President Donald Trump dubbed “a great embarrassment” may actually end up preserving it.Iran and all the other signatories are still observing the deal’s terms for now. The U.S. reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic last fall, driving down its oil exports and further stressing its weak economy. But even as the administration pursues what it calls a “maximum pressure” campaign against the country, it has also made exceptions through sanctions waivers that have helped keep Iranian oil ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-17
  • From Aramoana to Christchurch: A Shorthand of New Zealand’s Relationship With Guns
    On a Tuesday in November 1990, the sleepy town of Aramoana was burned into New Zealand's collective consciousness.The 13 residents killed in a gun rampage that shocked the nation were, until Friday’s attacks in Christchurch, victims of the country’s worst-ever mass shooting, one that opened a widespread reevaluation of New Zealand’s relationship with firearms. All subsequent gun debates here have been guided by the tragic events in Aramoana and their soul-searching aftermath.Nearly three decades later, another horrific event is having a similar effect. The terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques has focused international attention on this faraway country, seen as ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-17
  • ‘This Could Have Been Their 9/11 Moment’
    NEW YORK CITY—The prayer space at the Islamic Center at New York University is like any other college conference room: big windows, tall ceilings, retro carpeting. But when it’s transformed for Friday prayers, called jummah, there’s a certain familiarity to it too: rows of tape showing worshippers where to sit, a line of chairs dividing women from men, people sitting cross-legged and chatting. This prayer space is similar to the two mosques, thousands of miles away in New Zealand, where 49 worshippers were killed and scores of others were injured by a gunman on Friday.For Mohammed Hojaij, a junior at ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-16
  • The U.S. and North Korea Are Back to Talking Tough
    The attack dogs have been let loose.That much was clear from the stark message North Korea delivered this week after the collapse of Donald Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam last month: Kim is considering abandoning nuclear negotiations with the United States and resuming the nuclear and missile tests that brought the two countries to the brink of war early on in the Trump administration.Just as important as the message was the messenger. North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui, delivered the warning during a briefing in Pyongyang on Friday with foreign diplomats and journalists. Choe is ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-16
  • The Nativists Won in Europe
    The arrival of more than 1 million migrants in Europe in 2015 transformed the region’s political landscape. Four years later, the numbers seeking refuge have fallen sharply—even if the rhetoric surrounding the newcomers has not.European Union data released Thursday showed that the number of first-time asylum seekers in the bloc declined for the fourth straight year. It now stands at 580,800, just above the number that arrived in 2014, the year before the migrant crisis began.These latest figures are significant not because a semblance of order has been restored to those countries that account for the main source of asylum ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-16
  • Photos of the Week: Hudson Yards, Birdman Rally, Cat Yoga
    Leah Millis / Reuters A rabbit in war-torn Syria, an underwater-photography exhibit in China, sorrow in Ethiopia after a terrible plane crash, water shortages in Venezuela, cherry blossoms in China, a pagan festival near Moscow, fire-walking in Japan, terror in New Zealand, voting in North Korea, a global youth protest against climate-change inaction, and much more ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-15
  • The Media Still Haven’t Figured Out How to Cover Acts of Violence
    By the time the news of mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, spread around the world, the effort to remove materials left behind by a suspect in the terror attack online was already well under way.Social-media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube said they were removing footage of the attack, which was broadcast live to Facebook, from their platforms. Accounts associated with the suspected perpetrators were suspended, and copies of a 74-page manifesto posted by one of the suspects were taken down. New Zealand police urged the public not to share the content.But these materials were still ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-15
  • How White-Supremacist Violence Echoes Other Forms of Terrorism
    Their enemies are different, but their grievances and methods can look strikingly similar. The suspected gunman charged with killing 49 people at a mosque in New Zealand on Friday was a white nationalist, bent on killing Muslims. But in many respects, he’s not so different from the jihadists who have conducted similar mass shootings on behalf of violent Islamist groups.Terrorists across ideologies and decades have craved attention and tended to see themselves and their identity groups as persecuted and needing protection. The 21st-century twist is the use of newer communications technology to mobilize followers, spread propaganda, and incite attacks. And ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-15
  • Life in the World’s Fastest-Shrinking Country
    Welcome to Altimir, Bulgaria, a village on the verge of extinction in the fastest-shrinking country in the world. Like many rural Bulgarians, Altimir’s residents regard the height of the Soviet Union as the halcyon days, when village life thrived and young people stuck around long enough to start a family. Now, 20 years after the fall of the USSR and a decade after it joined the European Union, Bulgaria is hemorrhaging citizens at a rate of 164 per day. It is at the front lines of population decline. Kay Hannahan, a filmmaker, spent a summer living among the locals ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-15
  • The Iraq War Is a Cautionary Tale for Theresa May’s Brexit Dilemma
    Editor’s Note: As Prime Minister Theresa May grapples with parliamentary chaos over her efforts to negotiate Britain’s impending withdrawal from the European Union, the experience of one of her predecessors offers lessons on balancing politics and principle at a crucial juncture in the country’s history. This adapted excerpt of Heroes or Villains? The Blair Years Reconsidered, published in Britain by Oxford University Press, looks back at Tony Blair’s thinking in the run-up to the Iraq War.The most important question about the Iraq War, and therefore about the British decision to join the American invasion, is whether the disorder and violence ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-15
  • No One Wants to Help Bashar al-Assad Rebuild Syria
    When the Syrian conflict began, in March 2011, Bashar al-Assad seemed likely to be ousted, like other strongmen swept away by the Arab Spring. Eight years later, Assad is still president, but of a fractured, demolished country. Now one big question is: Who will pay to rebuild Syria?The bill is large. The United Nations estimates the cost of reconstruction at $250 billion (about four times Syria’s prewar GDP, or roughly the size of Egypt’s economy). Russia wants the West to pay up; its military support is essential to the Assad regime’s survival, but it has its own economic constraints. However, ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-15
  • The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann Is an Emotional, Exhaustive Project
    The day I interviewed Emma Cooper and Chris Smith about their Netflix series, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, yet another story about Madeleine happened to be in the U.K. tabloids. “Madeleine McCann abductor walked right past Irish family carrying the missing girl minutes after snatching her,” read the headline in The Sun. The Mirror, the Daily Star, and the Daily Record all ran versions of the same story, taking a minor comment from an American criminal profiler on an Australian podcast about Madeleine’s disappearance and presenting it as news—the potential “key” to solving a crime that’s perplexed law enforcement and ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-14
  • How the Far Right Weaponized Europe’s Interior Ministries to Block Refugees
    VIENNA—Herbert Kickl might be the most important far-right ideologue you’ve never heard of. He’s radically reshaping both refugee policies and the tone of political discourse across Europe.A longtime strategist for Austria’s nativist Freedom Party (FPÖ), Kickl has gone from working behind the scenes to becoming the country’s interior minister. And with a string of controversial statements and policy proposals—primarily related to immigration and refugees—he is using his newfound prominence to help ensure that those issues remain a part of the conversation domestically.In that, Kickl is an example of a broader trend in Europe. The FPÖ entered government in the fall ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-13
  • Civil Courts Step In to Solve What the Catholic Church Won’t
    PARIS—This week marked a major turning point in the Catholic Church’s sexual-abuse crisis. An Australian court sentenced Cardinal George Pell to six years in prison for sexually abusing minors, a decision that not only makes him the highest-ranking Church official to face civil justice, but also underscores a central animating tension in the issue: the one between civil and Church authorities.After years in which victims saw Church officials as lax and unresponsive, more protective of the abusers than of the abused, civil justice has moved in and filled the gap. Pell isn’t the only cardinal who’s been on trial. A ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-13
  • Sound Bites: Dogs on the Microphone
    Andrew Burton / Getty Once in a while, reporters in the field find themselves presented with the opportunity—or challenge—to interview a famous pup, or a four-legged friend that has just made the news, or simply a dog that’s finally had its day. I’ve gathered a few of these very important moments, captured in news photos below, from the past 90 years. ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-13
  • The End of the Cult of Sympathy for Theresa May
    LONDON—When Theresa May took to the dispatch box to stage yet another—ultimately futile—defense of her Brexit deal before the House of Commons, she was barely audible. The British prime minister had lost her voice.Observers described the scene as “painful” and “awful to watch.” Even those who stood to contest her deal couldn’t help but express some sympathy. “Most of us when we’re unwell can take to our beds,” said the independent lawmaker Anna Soubry, who just weeks earlier had resigned from May’s Conservative Party over its handling of Brexit. “This prime minister simply battles on, and that’s appreciated.”Such is the ..... READ MORE
    Source: The AtlanticPublished on 2019-03-13