Israelis must reach out to Gazans, Palestinians will live on despite recent violence, Europe walks a tightrope after Trump’s trashing of the Iran deal, Europe’s hypocrisy in treatment of Roma citizens, Africa faces the task of ‘Decolonising the Mind’

A roundup of global commentary for the May 28, 2018 weekly magazine.

Christian Science Monitor | All Stories

Hoping American values will outshine the confusing Trump era, While the West focuses elsewhere, Africa should take advantage, Britain hopes to hedge its way out of ‘Brexit’, The world should awaken to Romanian corruption, Beware of bitcoin

A roundup of global commentary for the Feb. 19, 2018 weekly magazine.

Christian Science Monitor | All Stories

Pakistan’s responsibility as terrorism in Afghanistan intensifies, UN’s fresh resolution on the Rwanda genocide matters, Milos Zeman’s election is an EU alarm bell, Africa has a major inequality problem, Roger Federer’s late career renaissance continues

A roundup of global commentary for the Feb. 12, 2018 weekly magazine.

Christian Science Monitor | All Stories

The Oldest Human Fossil Outside of Africa Has Been Found

(WASHINGTON) — A fossil found in Israel indicates modern humans may have left Africa as much as 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Scientists say that an ancient upper jawbone and associated stone tools could also mean that Homo sapiens — modern humans — arose in Africa far earlier than fossils now show. And it may cause rethinking about how we evolved and interacted with now-extinct cousin species, such as Neanderthals.

“When they start moving out of Africa and what geographical route they choose to do it are the two most important questions in recent human evolution,” said Tel Aviv University anthropologist Israel Hershkovitz, lead author of a study published in the journal Science .

The jawbone, complete with several well-preserved teeth, was found to be somewhere between 177,000 and 194,000 years old.

Previously, the oldest fossils of modern humans found outside of Africa were somewhere from 90,000 to 120,000 years old, also in Israel. So given the range in both those estimates, the jawbone might be about 50,000 to 100,000 years older.

The jaw was found in 2002 in the collapsed Misliya (miss-LEE-uh) cave on the western slope of Mount Carmel. Researchers spent the last decade-and-a-half looking for more remains and other fossils before publishing their study. They say the jaw belonged to a young adult of unknown gender.

The Science paper suggests modern humans could have left Africa 220,000 years ago, with some of the authors saying maybe it was even earlier. That’s in part because the cave also contained about 60,000 flint tools, mostly blades and sharp points, some of which are 250,000 years old, said study co-author Mina Weinstein-Evron.

“Now we have to write another story,” Weinstein-Evron said. “People were moving all the time.”

Scientists believe our species dispersed from Africa more than once.

The tool supply in the cave and other evidence were so complete it basically showed “industry” by the early modern humans, she said. “This guy or woman would have been very busy,” she said. “He didn’t have enough time do this. He couldn’t have made all of it. He must have had some friends.”

One of the interesting things about the tools is that while they were used on animal hides for meat and skin use, they were more frequently used on vegetables, Weinstein-Evron said.

Eric Delson, a paleoanthropologist at Lehman College and the American Museum of Natural History who wasn’t part of the study, said in an email, “Misliya may be one of several ‘out of Africa’ migrations” and even though it is the oldest modern human fossil, there may have been even earlier migrations.

He and others said the jawbone finding makes sense and is an exciting discovery.

Israel Hershkovitz, an anthropologist at the Tel Aviv University in Israel and the study’s lead author, said the ages of the jaw and the tools suggest our species had left Africa 200,000 years ago or earlier. And that, he said, suggests we may have appeared in Africa as long as 500,000 years ago. The oldest known fossils of our species are about 300,000 years old.

Weinstein-Evron and Hershkovitz insist those tools could only have been made by Homo sapiens.

But Delson and two other experts unconnected to the study disagreed, saying the tools may have been made by Neanderthals or another of our evolutionary cousins.

There is “very solid data” that Neanderthals used the same type of tool about 290,000 years ago in western Europe, and that species was around western Europe from 400,000 years ago until about 40,000 years ago, said Paola Villa of the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History.


10 Books that Will Inspire You to Visit Africa

A person holding a book
Welcome to the latest post in our Africa column by Natasha and Cameron from The World Pursuit. This month they are sharing their favorite books about the continent that will inspire you to visit!

When we first decided to travel around Africa, I called a family friend from Swaziland. She gave me an hour-long run down of travel on the continent and threw in a nice list of books to read. The first one I picked up was The Elephant Whisperer. In some ways Lawrence Anthony’s story about the bond he forms with a wild elephant herd captures the magic you can only find in Africa. The feeling is almost palpable and the air at times feels electric.

The diverse continent has no shortage of inspiration for stories. It’s supplied us an endless stream of books to consume during our travels. Here are my 10 favorite books to read about Africa:

Disgrace, by J. M. Coetzee

Disgrace by J. M. CoetzeeSouth African author J. M. Coetzee won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and this beautiful but tragic novel left me traumatized. It’s a dark and disturbing tale of disgrace. A university professor is dismissed from his job after an affair. He escapes to his daughter’s farm in the Eastern Cape and is forced to come to terms with the reality of life after an attack in which his daughter is raped and impregnated and he is brutally beaten. The book is heavy, but it does a great job of depicting the violence of post-apartheid South Africa. This book will elicit a lot of heavy emotions.

Out of Africa, by Karen Blixen

Out of AfricaI had for a long time put off reading the book, scoffing at the idea of a foreigner writing an evocative novel on Africa. However, when I read an excerpt in the Masai Mara, I changed my mind. What I love about this book is the language. Karen was a true poet, and her deep affection for the bush and Africa’s people — and writing — make you fall in love, too. The book draws you in and makes you want to be transported back to yesteryear and experience the romance of exploration and nature. In many ways it portrays what we love about traveling Africa, which in many places is still untamed. I also found it to be quite spiritual.

Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith

Number One Ladies’ Detective AgencyThis long-running series tells the story of a women’s detective agency based in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. The first book follows Mma Precious Ramotswe as she works to found her own detective agency. I love the spunk of her character! It’s all about bringing girl power to the African continent, where many women are still considered second-class citizens. To see a woman tackling gender stereotypes in Botswana is exciting.

Humor, adventure, and life fill the pages and make these novels special. Africa can be a dark place in literature at times, so when a fun and light book comes along, it should be celebrated. Every book in the series is fairly short, making them perfect to take to the beach or pool, on safari, or into your lodge.

The State of Africa, by Martin Meredith

The State of AfricaThe book is a bit heavy and factual. However, if you want to understand modern-day Africa and the challenges that the continent faces, there is no better book. Martin Meredith effectively gives a crash course in African politics, starting with the birth of African nations. He offers perspective on the poverty and challenges facing Africa. Despite the book’s density, Meredith’s writing keeps the reader’s attention with his wit and insights. It’s thought provoking and will likely shatter any preconceived notions. I found the book enlightening and informational, and I believe that having a deep knowledge of the political workings and history of Africa will also lead to more in-depth conversations with educated locals.

Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow SunThis disturbing but engrossing novel takes readers through the Biafran War (Nigerian Civil War) through perspectives of various characters. The book provides a haunting glimpse into the brutality of Nigeria’s civil war, portraying the hardships that both sides endured. (Sadly it’s a story we find all across the African continent: lines are drawn in the sand and tribalism often lead to the clash of neighbors, friends, and even family.) I felt the pain of each side pitted against the other, and at times it was hard to distinguish right and wrong. The book will tear at your heart.

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild, by Lawrence Anthony

The Elephant WhispererLeave it to a book about elephants to be the happiest on this list. In order to save a rogue herd from being culled, Lawrence Anthony introduces them to his private game reserve, Thula Thula, in South Africa. What ensues is a heartwarming story that connects the audience with the beauty of these amazing creatures. The connection that Lawrence forms with the matriarch of the herd will transform the way you perceive animal intelligence and emotion. (His next book, The Last Rhinos, is also worth reading).

Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds, by Joy Adamson

Born FreeI had to pick this book up after finishing The Elephant Whisperer. Elsa is the famous Kenyan lioness who was raised by George and Joy Adamson. The two conservationists took on the daring task of raising the cub in captivity after George orphaned her by killing the mother, teaching her to fend for herself in the wild. It’s an amazing story about companionship and love in the African bush. I’m a firm believer in conservation and that we simply need more people to care about these animals. So books like this, which bring to light the beauty of the animals we share our planet with, are important.

The End of the Game, by Peter Beard

The End of the Game While The Elephant Whisperer is heartwarming and beautiful, The End of the Game is gut-wrenching. Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Peter Beard spent much of his time working and photographing Tsavo National Park. A drought swept through the park, and the large population of elephants were confined with little food and water. The result was a mass killing. Beard’s diaries turned coffee table books are a work of art and at times a glimpse into the mind of a mad genius. He famously used his own blood and animal remains in his journals. He’s also one of those legendary artists whose life is hard to believe sometimes. He was married to Cheryl Tiegs and hung out with the likes of Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Truman Capote, and Karen Blixen. Despite being nearly 40 years old, the book accurately portrays the problems facing conservationism in Africa to this day.

Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom“As I finally walked through those gates to enter a car on the other side, I felt — even at the age of seventy-one — that my life was beginning anew. My ten thousand days of imprisonment were over.” What more can be said about Nelson Mandela? He is possibly one of the most influential and inspirational Africans to have lived. When he passed away in 2013, it was a loss to the world. His autobiography — almost mandatory on any list of books about Africa — covers the span of his life up until he becomes president of South Africa. His humility, morality, and spirit were never broken. I find his words moving and evocative, and we can all find power in his writings.

Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz

Palace WalkThis first novel in Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Trilogy charts Egypt as it moves into the modern age. Set just after the end of World War I, this epic follows a Cairo merchant whose family follows strict social and religious rules. The book’s omniscient narrator does an excellent job of never passing judgment on the characters’ flaws, instead allowing their actions to speak for themselves. The book gave me a revealing glimpse into North African and Arabic culture. If you are heading to North Africa I highly recommend giving this beautiful novel a read.

There are so many great books about Africa that can offer a better sense of the continent. I believe exploring literature is just as important as exploring the world. Every piece of literature on Africa you read shines a bit more light on a place that can still be referred to as the “Dark Continent.”

Natasha and Cameron run the blog The World Pursuit, focusing on adventure and cultural travel. The two of them met in the film industry before they decided to abandon the American lifestyle and travel the world. They’ve been traveling together for three years across 55 countries and six continents. They recently bought a 4×4 at the tip of Africa and are traversing the continent while documenting their story on Instagram and Facebook.

P.S. – Want to step up your travel hacking game? I’m speaking at Frequent Traveler University’s Expo in Chicago on November 18th. It’s the world’s largest travel, points, and miles event and there are some good speakers there. You can click here to get your ticket. Also, as a reader of this site, you get 75% off the ticket price with the code “NOMAD”.

The post 10 Books that Will Inspire You to Visit Africa appeared first on Nomadic Matt's Travel Site.

Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site

A Pilgrimage of Self Discovery in Africa

Ambiguity hovers over the work of Mimi Cherono Ng’ok like a hazy fog. The more one tries to make sense of the narrative, the more elusive it becomes. Like the infuriating feeling of trying to remember a dream as it rapidly evaporates or the strain of placing a distant memory into something tangible, it’s a fruitless activity. But here, to define is to demote.

Her untitled project, begun in 2013, is a series of vignettes on memory, loss and lust revealed through Ng’ok’s experiences in countries where she has lived and travelled. “My friend committed suicide and because I couldn’t attend his funeral, I went on almost a pilgrimage, trying to make sense of what happened,” Ng’ok tells TIME. “He was a photographer as well, so making images is a way to process the loss and absence that I felt.” These journeys have guided her grief and helped her better understand her identity.

Ng’ok grew up in the bucolic outskirts of Nairobi, a temperate climate with “lots of trees”. “There’s a lot of space. We see cows often because a lot of people graze their animals in the area,” she says. “I used to imagine that a lot of people have access to that, but in retrospect I think it’s something quite specific.” Her work is an attempt to place those childhood memories and interrogate recurring motifs that still linger into adulthood. She thinks her urgency to roam was likely born out of never feeling at home in Nairobi. “That sense of outside-ness has compelled me to always move around and see where I can find a home,” she says. “But what changed I guess in making this series I came to understand [home is] not a place.” Home, for her, is a state of mind.

Ng’ok explores this temporality through the intersection of people and place. “In this series the place became almost equal to the person,” she says. “I think previously when I was shooting, people were central in the narrative. And in this series, or in this project, what happened was the place became the second character.” London, New York and Paris are all “known” characters, argues Ng’ok, but Nairobi, Kigali and Johannesburg, less so. Ng’Ok hoped to establish these places as having their own distinct ideas: “I wanted to make central these places that have been on the periphery as characters themselves.”

But for her, the work is still an emotional, rather than literal, map. “When I look back, it wasn’t about a specific location but the emotions I experienced there,” she says. “Then I could finally draw a thread between all those places, just based on the emotions I had.” The beaches, trees, flora and fauna are all significant but equally could be anywhere. In this way, the boundaries of everyday life coalesce with the cerebral land of memories and dreams.

“I think photography, like memory, is fragmentary,” she says. “We imagine ourselves as very coherent beings, where we are collating things in a very specific way. But we tend to take in almost anything and everything and make sense of it in different ways.” The arresting image of a Perlino horse, white and pink and trussed up in celebratory bridal or the worn velvet sofa bathed in afternoon sunlight, are uncertain and exacting, at the same time. Photography, like memory, is fallible.

Ng’Ok learnt to have a deep intimacy with her subject – be it her sister or a tree – after a workshop with Magnum photographer Jacob Aue Sobol. “Because I could create that relationship, then the work started to become about an idea rather than a factual story that is happening at that moment,” she says. “And this thing that I can tease out that is not necessarily about reality but more about the possibilities in this image. What are the things that it brings up in your subconscious?”

Through this intimacy, Ng’ok makes herself vulnerable. She is frequently asked if the recurring character – an attractive young man – is her boyfriend, which she says is the viewer simply “projecting themselves on the image.” But she courts these open-ended interpretations and lays herself bare to those who call her “too romantic, too sentimental or too nostalgic”.

She drew inspiration from photographers such as Nan Goldin and Rinko Kawauchi, who artfully bridge the gap between the intensely personal and the universal. “They were people who made work that was deeply personal but I could identify with,” she says. “I followed an approach where the things that I find interesting – or that represent loss or absence – will resonate with other people.”

Mimi Cherono Ng’ok is a photographer based in Nairobi and is one of the recipients for this year’s Magnum Foundation grant.

Alexandra Genova is a writer and contributor for TIME LightBox. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Blac Chyna Tells Cosmo South Africa She & Rob Kardashian Are ‘Fighting For Each Other’!

These two are not going down without a fight!

On Friday, Blac Chyna revealed she will be on the April cover of Cosmo South Africa where she dishes on everything from her tumultuous relationship with Rob Kardashian, to her two children: Dream Kardashian and King Cairo Stevenson.

Related: We SEE You, Blac Chyna!

As seen on her Instagram:

I’ve dreamed of being a Cosmo Girl for such a long time. I feel so blessed and super humbled to be a part of such an empowering brand. Thank you @cosmopolitansa and @johnsiavis for taking such good care of me. Click the link in my bio to check out the interview.A post shared by Blac Chyna (@blacchyna) on Mar 17, 2017 at 5:05pm PDT

In the spread, the former stripper says she’s “in it for the long haul” with the KUWTK star even though they constantly fight and bicker.

“I feel like every person who’s in a long-term relationship, or who is committed to their person, goes through ups and downs… Everything isn’t always going to be peaches and cream. If it is, then it’s fake. I’m in it for the long haul, so I feel like my advice [for anyone in a similar situation] is therapy, know each other’s family, calling each other’s moms.”

Although the 28-year-old acknowledges their relationship isn’t “perfect,” they are doing everything they can to stay a couple.

“I feel like everything isn’t going to be perfect, but I know we love each other and we’re fighting for each other, and the people we surround ourselves with are rooting for us. It makes everything much easier.”

Not surprisingly, the glue that keeps them together is their daughter Dream.

“And we also have Dream. So we’re looking at the bigger picture. We have a whole other human being that looks up to us, so we have to makes sure she’s taken care of.”

Despite their differences, Chyna will always admire Rob for his parenting skills.

“He’s a wonderful dad. I think it’s because he had such a great father.”

The same goes for ex Tyga. Although the two have had drama — considering he later went on to date Rob’s sister Kylie Jenner — they keep things positive for their son King.

“It’s important to me and Tyga no to have negative energy… Kids breathe energy… You have to learn to forgive and forget. Many people don’t like to forgive others. Even if someone does something awful to you, you need to forgive them to be able to move on with your life. You can’t hold on to that stuff because it’ll make you a bitter person and it’ll block your blessings. You need to let it go and be free.”

As we reported, Rob and Chyna broke up in February with a source citing his “insecurities,” and her turbulent relationship with the Kardashian family. It is unclear whether this interview happened before (or after) the split, and whether Chyna feels the same way today.

Never a dull moment with these two!

[Image via WENN.]


Africapolis: Measuring urbanisation dynamics in West Africa

Africa is the least urbanised continent in the world but an urban transition is very much underway. This is particularly visible in West Africa where the number of urban agglomerations increased from 152 in 1950 to almost 2,000 in 2010. Between 2000 and 2010 alone, the urban population grew by over 40 million people, making towns and cities home to 41% of the region’s total population.
OECD Observer

Where cities can take Africa

Tangier in 2000 was a sleepy coastal city in the north of Morocco. Fifteen years later, Tangier’s population has exploded three-fold into a vibrant metropolitan area of 1.5 million inhabitants. The city’s free-zones have attracted new industries, such as automobile producers. A new business district called Tangier City Center and new satellite cities arise around Tangier’s old town, providing local inhabitants with modern infrastructure and amenities that have been sorely lacking. A new high-speed train is being built to connect people with the state-of-the-art Ibn Batouta International Airport.
OECD Observer