Gary Shteyngart: reality catches up to dystopian fiction

Our modern-day Kafka on his new novel Lake Success and the dark comedy that in 2018 pretty much writes itself

  • riding the Greyhounds of hell, from New York to El Paso
  • the alternate reality of hedge fund traders
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South African city to seize private land without paying in 'test case'

"Expropriation without compensation" is meant to address the nation's stark inequalities in wealth and land ownership.

  • Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has seized private land from citizens but always compensated owners.
  • The new proposal is a more radical approach to correcting apartheid-era inequality.
  • However, South Africa's constitution still requires the government to compensate land owners, so it's unclear how the government's seizure of private property without pay would play out in courts.
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Number of American parents not vaccinating infants has quadrupled

A measles comeback is not the sort of return our children deserve.

  • The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven't received any vaccinations has quadrupled in the last 17 years.
  • In 2016 in Europe there were 5,273 cases of measles. One year later that jumped to 21,315 cases.
  • Discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield's false study linking vaccines and autism still influences parents, two decades later.
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Steven Mnuchin withdraws from Saudi conference over missing journalist

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has cancelled an upcoming trip to an economic conference in Saudi Arabia amid the controversy involving missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

  • Saudi Arabia's economic conference has been dubbed "Davos in the Desert".
  • Mnuchin joins a growing list of officials and industry executives who've dropped out of the event.
  • It's turning into a PR nightmare for the nation, particularly for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
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Where the water wars of the future will be fought

A new report warns about the increasing likelihood of international conflicts over water.

  • A study finds that serious conflicts over water are going to arise around the globe.
  • The 5 hotspots identified by the paper include areas of the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates, and Colorado rivers.
  • It's still possible to change course if we are prepared to address the effects of climate change.
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