Economist 8/6/14

  1. One in five adults in US has a tattoo, and two in five thirty-somethings. These days women with tattoos outnumber men in the US.Though increasingly mainstream, tattoos still signal a certain rebelliousness that works against jobseekers. Inked candidates consistently ranked lower, despite being equally qualified.Empirical studies have long linked tattoos with deviant behaviour. People with inked skin are more likely to carry weapons, use illegal drugs and get arrested. The association is stronger for bigger tattoos, or when there are several.This may help explain the army’s recent decision to reinstate old grooming standards. These restrict the size and number of tattoos, ban ink from the neck, head and hands, and bar body art that might be seen as racist, sexist or otherwise inappropriate.
  2. Kabaddi in India has been turned into slick fare for television, rife with opportunities for sponsorship.The spanking-new teams of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL)—the Patna Pirates, the Telugu Titans and six others—face off before a cheering stadium.The model is Indian Premier League cricket, where a sped-up game has made the league into a commercial juggernaut. Most strikingly, in PKL matches, raiders no longer mutter “kabaddi” to show they are not drawing breath. Instead, an overhead screen counts down 30 seconds.The producers, Star TV and the Mahindra group, are drenching the new league with star pulling power. Each team must field three players from non-Indian countries.
  3. CHINA’S airlines and airports have long been notorious for their lateness. Even in a good month only half of flights from Beijing airport leave on time, and two-fifths from Shanghai’s Pudong.The problem is that less than 30% of China’s airspace is open to civil aviation, compared with more than 85% in the United States. The armed forces hog the rest. A Chinese aviation expert estimates that the air force could, by transferring a tenth of its airspace to civilian use, boost China’s GDP by over $30 billion a year.
  4. American Embassy in Libya was evacuated after it had endured two weeks of rockets landing close to its fortified building near Tripoli’s international airport. Efforts to persuade the militias to stop fighting had got nowhere.The polarisation of forces has sharpened in the run-up to the convening of a newly elected parliament on August 4th. The country’s many militias fall roughly into two camps: Islamists (including the Libya shield alliance ), who are strong in Tripoli and the centre of the country, and an array of opponents, who tend to dominate the east and west. No one has prevailed. All sides have been scrambling to bolster their positions before the new parliament sits.
  5. Inequalities remain in South Africa—the median wage of whites is still four times higher than that of blacks. But a vast new black middle class has emerged. Almost half the country’s skilled workers and 40% of its senior managers are now black. Schools once reserved for whites are now filled with faces in all the hues of the rainbow nation. Absolute poverty among blacks has fallen sharply. Most homes now have clean water and electricity.Convergence between the races of South Africa is not just economic. They are also uniting in dissatisfaction with Jacob Zuma, who recently started his second term as president. Though its share of the vote fell, the African National Congress (ANC), which has ruled South Africa since the advent of democracy in 1994, still won a comfortable 62% of the vote at the general election in May. Allied to this has been the rise of two rivals: the Democratic Alliance (DA), the liberal-leaning and still white-tinged main opposition party; and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a new black-populist party that wants to confiscate white-owned land and nationalise the economy’s “commanding heights”.

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