- Since Kim Jong Un came to power following the death of his father in December 2011, North Korea’s Young Leader has shown a passion for construction projects, with the emphasis on leisure—a pursuit he promised his subjects early on, along with prosperity. Mr Kim swiftly ordered the renovation of Pyongyang’s two main funfairs. A new water park, a 4D cinema and a dolphinarium have followed, along with riverside parks, residential skyscrapers and a new airport terminal, which opened last month.At its apex sit the donju, wealthy traders whose investments have been fuelling a retail and construction boom in Pyongyang and a few other cities. Successful donju ( wealthy traders) own some of the foreign cars on the city’s busier streets. Others ride in its expanding fleet of taxis. Most own smartphones, making calls and surfing a heavily monitored intranet through Koryolink, a joint venture between the state and Orascom Telecom, an Egyptian firm.This growing segment of the population is already visible on Pyongyang’s streets as young women shrug off dowdy outfits for fitted jackets, bolder colours and sunglasses.
- WITH one of the highest murder rates among OECD countries—second only to Mexico—America retains its reputation as a disproportionately dangerous country. The prevalence of guns goes a long way toward explaining America’s terrible record—they are used in two-thirds of all murders. Americans are five times as likely to be murdered as Brits but over 40 times as likely to be murdered with a gun.There is no national database of gun ownership, because the gun lobby sees that as a first step towards disarmament. The number of guns in America therefore has to be inferred from survey data, commercial records and background checks. None of these measures are perfect: a gun owner may not necessarily need a background check if he or she buys a weapon at a gun show; a customer may have one background check and buy three weapons;In 2007 the Small Arms Survey estimated that 270 million guns were in the hands of American civilians, or 0.9 per person. That number has almost surely risen since. The share prices of America’s two largest publically traded gun manufacturers, Sturm Ruger and Smith & Wesson, have increased over 700% and 450% respectively since Mr Obama was elected.
- In 2013 more than 200 cities were swamped at some point. Why are so many Chinese cities flooded?The short answer is that the country’s urban sprawl has been expanding much faster than its drainage infrastructure could catch up. The government began to recognise the problem of flooding in the late 1990s, after a massive flood along the Yangzi river killed thousands of people. But the policymakers in Beijing regarded it largely as a rural problem. To make matters worse, Chinese cities have expanded rapidly, some directly into flood plains. Rivers and lakes were reclaimed to make way for development. The amount of urban land in China has more than doubled since 1998.
- POACHING rhinos is a grisly business. Rather than attract attention with gunfire, many poachers prefer to use a tranquilliser dart to immobilise the rhino and then hack off a chunk of its face to pull out the horn. The beast usually dies of blood loss or suffocation within hours. But the work is lucrative; booming demand in China and Vietnam has pushed the price of rhino horn over $65,000 a kilo in some markets.Last year 1,215 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone, up from 13 in 2007. The best way to turn the tide is to reduce demand, some conservationists reckon. A cunning approach has been devised by a South African firm, Rhino Rescue Project (RRP). For about $600 per beast, RRP drills two holes into a sedated rhino’s horn and pumps in a secret cocktail of toxins into its fibres. Consume powder from that horn and expect a migraine, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea.
- AMERICA dropped its atom bomb on Nagasaki at 11.02am on August 9th 1945, three days after Little Boy fell on Hiroshima. The second nuclear bomb, which killed over 70,000 civilians (with many more dying afterwards), struck as Japan’s wartime leaders, shocked by Hiroshima, were already deliberating how to surrender. So, there has long been a sense that this second fireball was less justified than the first. The second nuclear bomb, which killed over 70,000 civilians (with many more dying afterwards), struck as Japan’s wartime leaders, shocked by Hiroshima, were already deliberating how to surrender. So, there has long been a sense that this second fireball was less justified than the first.The Americans also obscured the truth about radiation sickness and blocked the publication of scientific studies in Japan, impeding proper treatment for the sick and dying.