Economist 4/18/16

  1. In the six months from October 2015 to March there were 230 attacks, in which 34 Israelis and foreign tourists and 121 Palestinian attackers were killed. Many have called it a third intifada (uprising), though the Israeli military prefers the term “limited uprising”.For Israel’s security services, the killings have posed a unique challenge. Unlike in previous rounds, the Palestinians carrying out the attacks are nearly all acting on their own and unaffiliated with armed groups.The intelligence community sees the social media networks as its main opportunity to spot attackers in advance. With the average perpetrator aged between 15 and 25, the great majority of them are active on Facebook and Twitter, and in hindsight are found to have given some inkling of their intentions online.Using specially developed algorithms to monitor the social media accounts of young Palestinians has yielded a list of potential suspects, and in some cases has allowed the IDF in recent weeks to stop attackers before they could act.
  2. IN FEBRUARY, the city council of Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, passed a non-discrimination ordinance permitting transgender people to use public toilets that match their gender identity. A month later, lawmakers in North Carolina’s legislature undercut Charlotte’s protections (which had been set to take effect on April 1st) by rushing through the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act.The bill prohibits the use of bathrooms and changing rooms designated “for a sex other than the person’s biological sex” as “stated on a person’s birth certificate”. It also declares that state law supersedes all local ordinances concerning wages, employment and how people must be treated in public accommodations like theatres and restaurants.Deutsche Bank and Paypal withdrew expansion plans that would have brought new jobs to the state. Denouncements came from companies inlcuding American Airlines, Apple, Biogen and Dow Chemical; Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr cancelled planned concerts.
  3. As Rebecca Traister writes in “All the Single Ladies”, on the rise of single women in America, women are waiting longer to wed than ever, and many are choosing not to do so at all. The freedom to pursue high-powered careers and sexually diverse lives without fear of pregnancy or stigma has turned marriage into a choice, not destiny. By 2009 nearly half of all American adults younger than 34 had never married, a rise of 12 percentage points in less than a decade. Unmarried women outnumber married ones for the first time ever.Delaying marriage is also having economic effects: women aged 25 to 34 are the first generation to start their careers near parity with men, earning 93% of men’s wages. Single women now buy homes at greater rates than single men.The divorce rate, now falling, has plunged fastest among those who stay single longest.
  4. Not all women are celebrating. For some, singlehood is less a choice than bad luck. Outside big cities, women who are unmarried into their late 30s are often pitied. For those who hope to become mothers, biology imposes harsh deadlines—though breakthroughs in fertility treatments have raised the number of women giving birth after age 35 by 64% between 1990 and 2008.America’s high incarceration rate has shrunk their pool of men. Single parenthood is strongly correlated with poverty.
  5. Mr Safwat is the head of Cairo Runners, which gathers on Friday mornings, before the city perks up and goes to mosque. He and about a dozen friends started the group on Facebook in 2012. Now it attracts up to 3,000 people to its runs, which change place and increase in length each week, culminating in a half-marathon on April 15th.There were runners, and even running clubs, in Cairo before Mr Safwat and friends took to the streets.Broken pavements, potholed roads and snarling traffic make even walking hazardous.Dirty air, extreme heat and the threat of harassment complete the unwelcoming picture.Still, most Egyptians do not exercise. Diabetes is a growing scourge. The trick for Cairo Runners is that most see it as a social activity as much as a fitness routine.Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s president, seems inclined to support the runners. He has made a show of riding his bike in public to promote fitness.
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