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Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader, by David Barboza. The New York Times.
Through the course of his leadership, relatives of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao ave gained incredible wealth -- riches accumulated through help from state-owned companies, government contracts, and industries ruled by agencies overseen by Mr. Wen himself. An examination of financial nepotism in China reveals a collision between business and state influence.
While Communist Party regulations call for top officials to disclose their wealth and that of their immediate family members, no law or regulation prohibits relatives of even the most senior officials from becoming deal-makers or major investors -- a loophole that effectively allows them to trade on their family name. Some Chinese argue that permitting the families of Communist Party leaders to profit from the country's long economic boom has been important to ensuring elite support for market-oriented reforms.
Even so, the business dealings of Mr. Wen's relatives have sometimes been hidden in ways that suggest the relatives are eager to avoid public scrutiny, the records filed with Chinese regulatory authorities show.
Wen: Feng Li/Getty Images
Nineteen Seventy Three, by Alan Bellows. Damn Interesting.
In the 1970s, Chile was on the verge of developing sophisticated technology to monitor its economy. Then America intervened.
In the early 1970s the scale of Beer's proposed network was unprecedented. One of the largest computer networks of the day was a mere fifteen machines in the US, the military progenitor to the Internet known as ARPANET. Beer was suggesting a network with hundreds or thousands of endpoints. Moreover, the computational complexity of his concept eclipsed even that of the Apollo moon missions, which were still ongoing at that time. After a few hours of conversation President Allende responded to the audacious proposition: Chile must indeed become the world's first cybernetic government, for the good of the people. Work was to start straight away.
Stafford Beer practically ran across the street to share the news with his awaiting technical team, and much celebratory drinking occurred that evening. But the ambitious cybernetic network would never become fully operational if the CIA had anything to say about it.
‘Perplexed ... Perplexed': On Mob Justice in Nigeria, by Teju Cole. The Atlantic.
Why is lynching so common in Nigeria? And what is being done to stem the violence?
When I'm in Nigeria, I find myself looking at the passive, placid faces of the people standing at the bus stops. They are tired after a day's work,and thinking perhaps of the long commute back home, or of what to make for dinner. I wonder to myself how these people, who surely love life, who surely love their own families, their own children, could be ready in an instant to exact a fatal violence on strangers. And even though I know that lynchings would largely disappear in a Nigeria with rule of law and strong institutions -- just as they have largely disappeared in other places where they were once common -- I still wonder what extreme traumas have brought us to this peculiar pass.
UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images