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This Week

Too Big to Play Fair

Credit: Joost J. Bakker

Every Friday we take a look back at the week’s headlines, centering on a theme we’ve singled out as particularly important.This week some nation states seemed too big to succeed, while Hollywood stars were using growth hormones to get even bigger. Inequality isn’t a strong enough word to  represent some of these overwhelming and unnecessary disparities.

Somalia gives up on central state, shifts to system of zones of influence—best news in years for the country’s development:

…the conference participants—foreign and Somali—say they will accept that the country is, for the time being, irretrievably broken into five or six zones of influence.

Sale of human growth hormone now big business in Hollywood; soon it will be over-the-counter, says regular user Stallone:

Most of them sang its praises, saying it made them look and feel stronger, sharper, younger; one of them, a studio executive, told him it had changed his life.

Japan questions its safety net following the starvation death of a couple in their 60s and their son in his 30s:

The cases are known as kodokushi or “lonely deaths” in Japan – and the stories are familiar: Unreported deaths, unpaid rents, no food, no electricity, and few ties to family and friends.

Hong Kongers outraged over mainlanders arriving to birth children, who then get 12 years of school, free visas:

As recently as a few years ago, city officials saw mainland mothers-to-be as a revenue stream as well, and urged hospitals to accommodate them.

Overview of migrants, borders, and ideas about immigration in Europe:

For the moment we mainly hear the din of battle, between the painstaking communitarian ideal and the forces of cosmopolitanism.

History shows one of the most surefire ways for a woman to win an Oscar is by playing a prostitute:

Whether a “hooker with a heart of gold,” a high-class call girl, or a destitute woman who turned to the streets, any actress knows well that if she takes on a role dealing with this occupation, she had a better shot at an Oscar win.

We send home that first rough draft of history…We always have to ask ourselves whether the level of risk is worth the story.

Satellite tour of the world’s biggest slums:

Of the 3.49 billion people that now live in cities, 827.6 million are slum dwellers, according to a UN Habitat Report.

Images of turn-of-the-19th-century Bombay:

But then, as now, inequality was a fact of life in the city. And beyond rapid population growth, not much has changed in the interceding century for the city’s urban poor.

Pictures of European hipsters and everything they possess:

The Participant (All born in the 80’s) compose and build a sculpture of all his or her possessions, which I then photograph together with the model.

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