Foreign Policy's Daniel W. Drezner has a post that all Gold Bugs should read (this one is directed at my Grandpa). I especially like this paragraph:

for gold to be a smart large-scale investment, you need a kinda sorta apocalyptic sweet spot. On the one hand, there has to be sufficient levels of discord and inflation fears for a non-interest-bearing asset to look attractive. On the other hand, there has to be sufficient levels of stability such that the gold can still be protected and used as a medium of exchange and store of value.

In an interesting move sure to be copied by activist groups and political parties around the world, the New Zealand Greens Party has lodged a formal application for an oil exploration license off of the west coast of the North Island and the east coast of the South Island:

“When the government is looking through the stack of bids from the oil companies they will find ours, backed by over 14,000 New Zealanders,” said Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes. “It will make sure the government knows that New Zealanders want to protect our waters, not give them away to oil companies.”

The Economist has an amazing explanation of how AIDS has been reversed:

Until 1981 the disease (though already established in parts of Africa) was unknown to science. Within a decade it passed from being seen as primarily a threat to gay men, and then to promiscuous heterosexuals, to being a plague that might do to some parts of Africa what the Black Death did to medieval Europe. But now, though 1.6m people a year still die of it, that number is on a downward trajectory­, and AIDS rarely makes the headlines any more.

A week on from the Northern Province Elections in Sri Lanka, there are more grim tales from the election, and despair about the possibility of reconciliation and unity in Sri Lanka:

Voters who were travelling from outside the province to cast their vote complained that going through so many checkpoints reminded them of the war. Citizens being forced to pass through military checkpoints on their way to cast their vote for a political party whose members are sometimes viewed by the military as having been sympathetic to the LTTE will act as deterrent.

Leading up to the election many civilians were uncomfortable in openly expressing any support towards a political party outside of the ruling coalition. Attacks on candidates’ homes and supporters being threatened to boycott the election certainly justified their tight-lipped approach. Following the landslide victory for the TNA the people of the North were still hesitant in celebrating the victory; many feared that there would be retribution for what is an open rejection of a government that is otherwise seen as holding the popular mandate.

With Qatar gearing up to host the 2022 Football World Cup, the Guardian has a stunning expose on the conditions of the migrant labourers working on World Cup infrastructure:

“The evidence uncovered by the Guardian is clear proof of the use of systematic forced labour in Qatar,” said Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, which was founded in 1839. “In fact, these working conditions and the astonishing number of deaths of vulnerable workers go beyond forced labour to the slavery of old where human beings were treated as objects. There is no longer a risk that the World Cup might be built on forced labour. It is already happening.”


That is all.