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Showing posts from December 26, 2016

Yiwu: The Chinese city where it's Christmas every day

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[A look into the world of plastic Christmas trees and metallic tinsel in China, where 60 percent of decorations are made. "Are there no workhouses?" Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol *RON*]

Dave Tacon, Al Jazeera, 19 Dec 2016
Yiwu, China - China is expected to have the world's largest Christian community in the world within two decades, although Christmas remains a minor festival in the secular country. However, when it comes to commerce, the country's economy thrives on the holiday seasons.

Around 60 percent of the world's Christmas decorations come from factories surrounding Yiwu, in Zhejiang Province, a little more than an hour from Shanghai on the country's high-speed rail.

Trump du Jour

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Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary

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[One cause of the great and growing divide is the crapification of labour. *RON*]
Dan Kopf, Quartz, 5 December 2016 The conventional full-time job is disappearing.

Survey research conducted by economists Lawrence Katz of Harvard University and Alan Krueger at Princeton University shows that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as “alternative work” jumped from 10.7% to 15.8%. Alternative work is characterized by being temporary or unsteady—such as work as an independent contractor or through a temporary help agency.

Uber's robot cars move in, and the homeless must move along

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[Security guards working at Uber's San Francisco facility for self-driving cars dismantle a nearby tent city, according to homeless people who were displaced. The divide is widening in one of the wealthiest communities in the US. "I've started feeling like I'm not a human being any more." *RON*]

Dara Kerr, CNET, 22 December 2016

Jason Pitter has been homeless for months.

Until last week he had a tent, several blankets, as well as some other personal belongings. But after being pushed out of a tent city in a San Francisco industrial neighborhood, Pitter has moved repeatedly, getting into scrapes and losing almost all of his possessions.

Israel settlements: Netanyahu orders UN ties review

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[Bibi don't like Barack. Trump tried unsuccessfully to step in. See also: Israeli PM summons US ambassador amid UN vote row, and Netanyahu snubs May over UN settlements vote, Israeli media says. *RON*]

BBC News, 24 December 2016
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will re-assess its ties with the United Nations.

The move comes after the Security Council adopted a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building on occupied land.

The resolution was passed after the US refused to veto it, breaking with long-standing American practice.

Washington has traditionally sheltered Israel from condemnatory resolutions.

Blame and bitterness keeping peace at bay

Democracy Is Dying as Technocrats Watch

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[Party apparatchiks can't understand what went wrong. Assaults on democracy are working because the current political elites have no idea how to defend it. See also: How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’. *RON*]
William Easterly, Foreign Policy, 23 December 2016

On Nov. 29, three weeks after Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election, the following chart, showing a precipitous decline in support for democracy around the world, went viral after appearing in the New York Times:
"Across numerous countries…the percentage of people who say it is 'essential' to live in a democracy has plummeted…" https://t.co/YgrRkOBxBs — Martin Stabe (@martinstabe) November 30, 2016 Plenty of public argument ensued about the validity of the underlying data. But there was hardly any comprehension among experts about why moral support for democracy might be eroding — in part, because there’s good reason to think…