ISIS In Asia, Pope Francis, Waterloo, Wetsuitmen, Immigrants In Italy, Helium

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ISIS In Asia: Shadow Of The Caliphate

Banyan | The Economist | 18th June 2015 | | Read with 1Pass

More than half the world's Muslims live in Asia. Countries across the region feel the rise of Islamic State not as a distant threat but as an immediate danger within their own borders. "Governments everywhere grapple with an impossible calculation: if they underestimate the threat, they expose their people to terrorist attacks; if they exaggerate it, their heavy-handed reactions may further strengthen the terrorists’ cause" (972 words)

First Thoughts On Laudato Si’

Alan Jacobs | Text Patterns | 18th June 2015

Commentary on Pope Francis's encyclical about ecology. His tone is reasoned and restrained. His aim is to establish grounds for a dialogue. He argues, in the Franciscan tradition, that everything is connected in one great mystery — God, Nature, mankind, morality, justice. Christians cannot claim to love God while misusing the world and one another. They must "hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor" (1,460 words)

Courage And Commerce

Matt Ridley | 18th June 2015

We glorify the heroes of war — such as Wellington and Napoleon, who fought at Waterloo 200 years ago this week. But war is destructive. Commerce is constructive. A pity we do not celebrate equally the heroes of commerce. "We know almost nothing of the merchants who made ancient Greece rich enough to spawn an unprecedented culture, but we know lots about the deeds of those who squandered that wealth in war" (1,070 words)

The Wetsuitman

Anders Fjellberg | Dagbladet | 15th June 2015

Hard to find words to praise this piece enough. The reporting achievement is remarkable. The writing, presumably in translation, is all the more powerful for its calm and measured voice. Two corpses are found in identical wetsuits, one on the coast of Norway, the other on the Dutch island of Texel. An RFID tag leads to Calais, and into the camps of migrants and refugees struggling to reach England. All human life is here (7,900 words)

The Invasion Of Italy

Nicholas Farrell | Spectator | 18th June 2015

Crisp account of Europe's migration crisis as seen from Italy, prime destination for the flotillas of rafts from Libya. Last year 190,000 people arrived by sea, mainly Nigerians, Malians and Gambians. Nobody gets arrested. Newcomers receive pocket money, shelter, mobile phones and language lessons. If they want to move on, as three-quarters do, Italy is fine with that. Neighbouring countries are not. France has closed its land border (1,920 words)

Helium And The $100 Party Balloon

Rosie Cima | Priceonomics | 16th June 2015

Helium is wildly undervalued, and thus used casually for cleaning fuel-tanks and blowing up party balloons. For the past decade America has flooded the market by liquidating the strategic helium reserve established during World War Two. That's now over and the correction will be massive. "Party balloons filled with helium should really cost about $100 to reflect the precious nature of the gas they contain" (1,545 words)

Video of the day: Splitting Colours

What to expect: Illusion Of The Year 2015, according to the Neural Correlate Society (1'03")

Thought for the day

Absence is to love as wind is to fire: it extinguishes the little flame, it fans the big
Umberto Eco

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