The American Bombs Falling on Yemen

On the afternoon of 8 October 2016 the US and UK backed Saudis bombed a funeral gathering in Sana’a, Yemen.  The mayor of Sana’a, Abdulqader Hilal al-Dabab, was killed, and the country lost a bright hope for peace. Hilal was a politician with a long record of mediating disputes in a notoriously fractious and dangerous country. Nicolas Niarchos talks with Hilal’s son about his father’s fate and what it says about the country’s future.

Saudis are spending somewhere around 5 billion dollars a month on war in Yemen, and much of that ends up in the United States of America – in the hands of American defense contractors or British defense contractors in London.

Bear in mind that Yemen is the poorest country in the Arab world. Over 8 million Yemenis are on the brink of starving. It has over 1 million suspected cholera cases. That is the largest cholera outbreak on record in modern history. During the three years of war the richest countries in the world are bombing the poorest country.

The New Yorker

How the Nation of Luxembourg Is Racing to Privatise Space

Arkyd 6 spacecraft
Arkyd 6 spacecraft

Mining asteroids is the new old game, though no longer science fiction. The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg – which has all the square footage of an asteroid and, with a population up to slightly over half a million – has earmarked €200m to fund NewSpace companies that join its new space sector. In July, the parliament passed its law – the first of its kind in Europe, and the most far-reaching in the world – asserting that if a Luxembourgish company launches a spacecraft that obtains water, silver, gold or any other valuable substance on a celestial body, the extracted materials will be considered the company’s legitimate private property by a legitimate sovereign nation.

Should space benefit “all of humankind”, as the international treaties signed in the 60s intended, or is that idealism outdated? How do you measure those benefits, anyway? Does trickle-down theory apply in zero-gravity conditions?

The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads

Beneath the Financial Secrecy

Trillions of dollars are flowing through the world’s over 90 tax havens. This playground of the rich is growing rapidly. How do they do it?
A panel of expert economic writers examine some of the most significant financial exposes of our time, and discuss the challenges and dangers faced when pursuing justice.
Highlights from Griffith University’s Integrity 20 Conference, ‘What Lies Beneath’ 26th October, 2016

Big Ideas | 2nd February 2017