More Goals than Fans: Syria’s Uphill Struggle to Rally Nation Behind Football Team (Guardian)

The team, sitting at the top of the table for its group, is performing remarkably well despite formidable hurdles. The war has crippled football in Syria, scattering players across the world, and leaving them with barely a week to meet and train ahead of each match.

But Syrians everywhere are pouring out their support through social media, says Al Husein, and the crisis at home piles on the pressure to make them proud. He hopes that, by doing so, the team will pull the country’s fragmented identity closer together.

“At the end of the day we come from all aspects of Syria. Whether you’re a Christian or a Muslim or any sector of Islam, we’re all one family, we’re playing for one team, one country.

Read the full story at the Guardian 

These Indonesian Women Are Part of the Design Team for Their Own Development Tech

At a tech fair in Lembata, a volcano-sprinkled island near the eastern tip of Flores, Indonesia, 62-year-old subsistence farmer Daprosa and her friends Maria and Yuliana are checking out a water filter. It’s a simple $15 contraption, made of two plastic tanks with a ceramic-and-silver dome connecting them. The top tank is filled with river water and left overnight, with harmful chemicals and parasites removed as it trickles through. These women aren’t the only ones wondering about its success; local officials are interested, too — they want to know whether a giant version could be used to create a centralized water supply for villages.

Read the full story at How We Get to Next

The Malaysia Scandal: Crazy Enough to be a Far-Fetched Movie Plot, Says Human Rights Director

How an “objective” report on slavery in Malaysia became the centre of a political storm in the US.
Political interference from right at the top of the US government will be the only explanation if Malaysia’s human trafficking rating is raised next week, says human rights expert John Sifton.
“Let’s be clear: this is not a grey area,” he stated last night. “Malaysia has done very little to combat this scourge [of human trafficking]. They have done very little since they were moved to Tier 3 to merit an upgrade.
“If this had happened on House of Cards I’d say, oh, that’s not plausible.”

Continue reading →

$75 to Walk Again: Tackling Asia’s Prosthetics Crisis

Of the 260 million cluster bombs dropped on Laos’s three million people, nearly a third failed to explode. Four decades later, most lay where they fell, claiming hundreds of lives and limbs each year in a country where the GDP per capita is just USD $1,660 — a fraction of the cost of Western-made prostheses.

Read the full story at How We Get to Next

Still Don’t Know Who to Vote For Tomorrow? Just Make Sure It’s Not for Murdoch

It’s been described as the election that economics forgot. Outlandish proposals put forward by the country’s major parties on everything from tax evasion to inheritance tax seem, to be blunt, to be taking UK voters for fools. And well they might; after all, they can get away with it.
Just ask the Tories, who have successfully conned the country about economic growth for the past five years, without anyone seeming to notice.
The combination of a Prime Minister with a far better grasp of PR than macroeconomics, a woefully complicit media and a bewildered population that needs someone to blame has seen British people hoodwinked by made-up numbers since the Coalition took control.

Continue reading →

Kevin Ashton: Creativity is a myth that was “made up by white men in the 20s”

WARNING: Rare appearance on the *other* side of the camera. And rather early in the morning. I apologise. But anyway, here I am interviewing Kevin Ashton (the guy who coined the term “Internet of Things”) about the history of creativity.

(You can also read the original article here on SME Insider)

The Secret Business Plan That Could Spell the End for Small Businesses

This article was originally published in SME Insider

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will, if it goes through, have the most far-ranging impact on UK companies since the creation of the European Union. But while the benefits to big business are clear, SMEs seem set to lose out. Continue reading →

The happiest-making story I’ve seen for a while

So, Ricky Jackson has finally been released from prison, after 39 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. If I’d been convicted for murder based on a lie extracted from a child by corrupt police officers, I suspect I would have spent my four decades of incarceration plotting extensive Old Boy-style retribution. Luckily, Ricky Jackson is a far better human than I am. What a thoroughly lovely bloke.

(P.S. If there’s any doubt in anyone’s mind over why the death penalty is a really, really shite idea, cases like this will hopefully help to illuminate)

How the Wealth Gap Will Screw Small Business… and Democracy

This article was originally published in SME Insider

Do you have $3650 (£2285) in savings or equity? Congratulations: you’re richer than 50% of people on the planet. If that doesn’t sound like a fortune, it’s because there isn’t all that much to go around. Not when half of the world’s wealth is owned by just 1% of people.

According to the latest global wealth report published by Credit Suisse, even though overall wealth has increased dramatically from $117 trillion in 2000 to $263 trillion today, this is mostly the property of a tiny minority, which owns 48.5% of the globe’s resources. The issue is particularly stark in the UK, which is the only country in the G7 to have seen inequality rise during this century. Continue reading →