A mother and child walk past corrugated iron left by residents who intended to build an informal settlement at an open land in Nellmapius township, east of Pretoria.Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Loss of Fertile Land Fuels ‘Looming Crisis’ Across Africa
Jeffrey Gettleman | The New York Times
Kenya has a land problem. Africa itself has a land problem. The continent seems so vast and the land so open. The awesome sense of space is an inextricable part of the beauty here—the unadulterated vistas, the endless land. But in a way, that is an illusion. Population swells, climate change, soil degradation, erosion, poaching, global food prices and even the benefits of affluence are exerting incredible pressure on African land.”

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Inside the United Nations' Plan to Govern Marine Environments That Sit Outside Any National Jurisdiction
Mike Gaworecki | Pacific Standard
“The so-called high seas comprise more than 40 percent of Earth's surface and about two-thirds of the oceans. They are vast areas that lie 200 nautical miles or more from shore—in other words, beyond any national jurisdiction. That means that, while the high seas can be said to belong to everyone, no one body or agency is tasked with their governance and there is no comprehensive management structure in place that is capable of protecting the marine life that relies on them.”

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Out of India
Pamposh Raina | Foreign Policy
“The past few years have seen several clashes between the locals and an expatriate African population of about 40,000 by some estimates, many of them students. In 2013, a minister in the state government of Goa was criticized for referring to Nigerians as a “cancer.” The following year, a mob assaulted a group of young men from Gabon and Burkina Faso in New Delhi — an attack posted on YouTube. In January 2016, Indians and Africans alike were appalled again when a Tanzanian student was pulled out of a car, beaten, and partially stripped in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. She was allegedly targeted by an irate mob after an intoxicated Sudanese student ran his car over a couple, killing the woman and injuring the man. The Tanzanian student didn’t even know the Sudanese driver. She and her friends had only driven through the accident site and inquired about the earlier incident. The police confirmed that she was presumed to have been involved with the crime, simply because she was African. (Five men were arrested for their assault on her.) The recent violence in Greater Noida has only driven a deeper wedge between Africans and their host country. Whether there has been an actual escalation in attacks on Africans or simply more news coverage of such events is debatable. But the conflict suggests that street-level Indo-African relations are dangerously unmoored from diplomatic policy and the historic camaraderie that has long existed between India and Africa.”

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Why Exorcisms Are On the Rise in France
A.R. | The Economist
“Look online and a host of private exorcists, healers, mediums, kabbalists, shamans and energiticians offer similar services, for fees as high as €500 per ceremony. Some offer to help a business out of a bad patch, or to restore love to a failing relationship. Many help with supposed hauntings of properties. One self-declared exorcist near Paris says he earns as much a €12,000 a month (before tax) by working 15-hour days, including consultations by phone. The exorcism business is on the rise in France. Why?”

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Why the Middle East Hated Obama But Loves Trump
Susan Glasser | Politico Magazine
“Russia won in Syria thanks to President Barack Obama’s inaction. The Middle East unraveling of the past decade is due in no small part to America not listening to her allies in the region. Never mind President Donald Trump’s Muslim-bashing rhetoric, he may just be a better partner. For months, leaders of America's Arab allies in the Mideast have telegraphed this view of the world, and it helps explain why the gilded palaces of the troubled, war-torn region are the few places on the planet—outside Russia—where Trump has been more popular than the president he succeeded.”

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