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Xi Jinping to China: “Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us”

In 2012, in a key party leadership speech, China vowed to work with international society to “actively respond” to climate change. Five years on, president Xi Jinping just told China that it is in the “driving seat” when it comes to preserving the planet for future generations.<p>Speaking at the …

China

Does Diwali even feel like Diwali this year?

In a few hours from now, the night sky across urban and rural India will come to life.<p>The country, already in the grip of Diwali, the annual festival of lights, will break into celebrations, praying, lighting lamps, bursting crackers, exchanging sweets, gambling through the night, and making merry …

India

The job crisis in Zimbabwe means dozens of people are keen to take a long-vacant hangman job

Harare, Zimbabwe<p>Zimbabwe has taken strides in recent years to abolish capital punishment and there has been fervent debate about the future of the death penalty among locals, but there is strong interest in the job of hangman, which has been vacant for about 12 years.<p>The overwhelming interest by …

Africa

A remote $43 million island facility could be a game changer for India’s solar sector

One of the major gaps in India’s renewable energy sector is getting plugged.<p>Despite the low prices and abundance of renewable energy sources, solar power still accounts for just 1.6% of the power generated in India. This is partly because of the transient nature of solar power. Since sunshine is …

Renewable Energy

Fighting corruption, maintaining harmony, and Davos: A resume for China’s president Xi Jinping

The most important event of China’s political calendar is finally here. The 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, held every five years, begins today (Oct. 18) at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. The week-long session will mostly focus on the reshuffling of the party’s senior …

China

A novel about Abraham Lincoln’s dead son has won the UK’s most prestigious literary prize

A book about a grieving Abraham Lincoln has won the UK’s biggest literary award.<p>This year’s Man Booker prize for fiction originally written in English has been awarded to George Saunders for <i>Lincoln in the Bardo</i>. He’s the second American to win a prize once given only to books published in the …

Books

Donald Trump has a longstanding love-hate relationship with Forbes’ rich lists

Few things trigger Donald Trump like suggesting that he’s not as wealthy as he claims to be.<p>Every year, Forbes ranks the 400 richest Americans. The latest list, released today, found that Trump’s net worth dropped to $3.1 billion last year, down $600 million from 2016. That put him at #248 on the …

Donald Trump

The unexpected, paradigm-shifting power of #MeToo

I thought I was already fully awake.<p>I’ve known for nearly 20 years that those born wealthy had a head start compared with me in my chosen career. I’d accepted that—as a mixed-race woman making her way through a conservative and predominantly white male world of work—I’d face microaggressions and …

Feminism

Facebook’s best female communicator besides Sheryl Sandberg is leaving the company

Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s secretive Building 8 research lab is leaving the company after just 18 months, she said in a post on the platform. She said it was a “difficult decision,” and that she’d be “building and leading” a new, undisclosed endeavor after she leaves in early 2018.<p>Dugan, who …

Sheryl Sandberg

If you’re willing to trade ease-of-use for security, Google has a new feature for you

Google has just announced a feature that makes accessing your account exceedingly difficult for hackers—and no picnic for you either.<p>To log into a Google account that has the new Advanced Protection feature enabled, you will have to have a special USB stick plugged into your computer, or a …

Picnics

Amazon is now literally building its way into people’s lives

Online retailer Amazon wormed its way into the lives of Americans with books, then with e-books, then with Kindle, then with loads of stuff besides books, then with “free” shipping at Prime, then with personal assistant Alexa. Now the e-commerce giant is coming directly into your home, not by …

Amazon

Netflix will release more movies in 2018 than most major film studios combined

Netflix has released at least 34 original movies so far in 2017. It plans to release 80 next year, according to chief content officer Ted Sarandos.<p>That’s more titles than most movie studios release in a year. Disney—which also owns Pixar, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm—released 13 movies in the US …

Netflix

The problem with judging books from other cultures, according to a Man Booker juror

Today a jury of five intellectuals will announce its pick for this year’s Man Booker prize, which awards the “finest in fiction” from the English-speaking world.<p>The prize has become more inclusive since it was founded in 1969. Two years ago the prize began honoring translators, not just authors, …

Literature

What it looks like when a tropical storm hits Ireland, Wales and Scotland

Post-tropical cyclone Ophelia made landfall in Ireland yesterday (Oct. 16) bringing 120 mph winds and towering waves to its rocky coast. Three deaths have been blamed on the storm.<p>The storm left behind toppled trees, ripped off roofs and flooded streets. Though Ophelia has not been as fatal or …

Weather

No, Lyft and Uber probably won’t solve urban road congestion

Traveling by Uber and Lyft may just be too convenient.<p>According to a working paper by researchers at Institute of Transportation at University of California, Davis, use of transportation modes that would reduce air pollution have declined in cities with heavy usage of the ride-sharing apps. Based …

Uber

South Africans and Nigerians are baffled by a giant bronze statue of Jacob Zuma in Nigeria

South Africans and Nigerians may not always agree, but the citizens of Africa’s largest economies now share a common confusion over a large bronze statue of president Jacob Zuma, unveiled in Nigeria’s Imo State.<p>In between a state visit to Zambia and a working visit to the Democratic Republic of …

South Africa

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the source of our self-obsession

Whether you know it or not, a powerful cult is recruiting you. Cults display unwarranted admiration for a person or thing, and this one has chosen an especially irresistible figurehead: you.<p>The Cult of Self lulls us into believing that we’re better than others, that our needs matter more, and that …

Psychology

Google Pixel 2 Review: A half-inch away from greatness

I think Google might be embarrassed by the Pixel 2.<p>If you watch the commercials for Google’s newest phones, or scroll through Google’s flashy product website, every shot of the phone’s screen is luxurious slow pan across the Pixel 2’s larger sibling, the Pixel 2 XL. It’s easy to see why: The Pixel …

Phones

Colonial borders still influence how academics write about Africa

Africa is not a country—but a continent with one billion people, living in 55 different countries, and speaking more than 2,000 languages.<p>Yet a relatively narrow coverage of Africa and its people exists not only in mainstream media, but as a new research paper shows, in academia as well. Virginia …

Africa

I planned a stress-free bachelorette party using a key principle of web design

The stress of planning and executing a bachelorette party is an American rite of passage—satirized in <i>The New Yorker</i> and movies like <i>Bridesmaids</i> and <i>Bachelorette</i>. People say yes to extravagant getaways when they want to say no. The plan gets expensive. Assumptions get made. Feelings get hurt. …

Web Design

The University of Florida is allowing Richard Spencer to speak because it has to

White supremacist Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak this Thursday (Oct. 19) afternoon on the University of Florida’s (UF) Gainesville campus. The National Policy Institute, the white supremacist think tank Spencer leads, initially sought to rent space on the UF campus on Sept. 12, shortly after …

Richard Spencer

In the future, drones will charge your electric car while you’re driving

As countries around the world are putting more electric vehicles on the road, they’re also struggling to power those engines. For now, countries are focusing on adding charging stations, but in the future there may be a more mobile option available to drivers: flying drones that come to you.<p>In …

Electric Vehicles

Tracking down a kilonova: The story of how thousands of scientists decoded the year’s biggest discovery

This is the backstory to the biggest scientific discovery of 2017.<p>It began, as most things do these days, with a notification on phones and computers. Scientists working on the LIGO and Virgo collaboration stared at their screens, expecting the same sort of news push alert or unremarkable data …

Astrophysics

Peer pressure forced whales and dolphins to evolve big brains, like humans

The human brain has evolved and expanded over millennia to accommodate our ever-more-complex needs and those of our societies. This process is known as “encephalization” and has given us the big brain we need to communicate, cooperate, reach consensus, empathize, and socialize. The same is true for …

Evolution

Uber’s culture problems stem from “worship at the altar of hyper growth”

Uber is heading in new direction.<p>It has a new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, charged with cleaning up a raft of culture problems. It is also about to seal a billion-dollar investment deal with Japanese tech giant SoftBank.<p>“We expect to have an announcement pretty soon,” said Arianna …

Uber

The Communist App Store: China’s endless apps for tracking, organizing, and motivating party members

China’s Communist Party is getting into app development big time, with dozens of apps to educate and promote social networking among party members hitting the country’s Apple and Android app stores.<p>The party has long put special focus on “party construction,” a key plank of which involves inspiring …

China

Photos: The secret Swiss mountain bunker where millionaires stash their bitcoins

Attinghausen, Switzerland<p>I’m being driven along the eastern shore of Lake Lucerne when my guide points out our destination. “The bunker is in one of those mountains,” says Maxim Kon, gesturing at a fog shrouded peak on the opposite shore as he pilots his BMW convertible.<p>Kon is taking me to see one …

Cryptocurrency

Apple’s first big break came because of the spreadsheet

These days, Apple’s marketing campaigns play up the company’s appeal to cool, creative people. Things were different in the early days of the now dominant computer and device maker.<p>The $800 billion market cap behemoth we know today owes much of its initial success to the humble spreadsheet. More …

Apple II

Google is hoping a Chinese-American rapper can help it break back into China

Google continues to knock on China’s door—this time, with bass and vocals.<p>Earlier this month the search giant released an advertisement touting Google Translate, targeted specifically at Chinese consumers. It shows how the company is steadily attempting to boost its visibility in China, where the …

Google Translate

A pioneer that introduced digital payments to the world now wants to ride India’s boom

American online payments firm PayPal is looking at a bigger payoff from its bets in India.<p>The company, which set up a startup incubator in Chennai in 2013, has now decided to start taking equity in the firms that join its programme, which was free till now. So far it has churned out 10 companies in …

FinTech