These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

Yemen leads the list of the most fragile nations, with the U.S. and U.K. among the "most worsened."

MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

There are some rankings no nation wants to lead.

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Politics & Current Affairs

Why Blackwater cannot be the future of U.S. warfare

Can 6,500 mercenaries "fix" Afghanistan? The U.S. is resurrecting privatized warfare.

  • The West has stopped winning wars because it still operates on WWII strategies, says Sean McFate. Poor strategy results in so-called 'forever wars'.
  • To end the nearly 20-year-long war in Afghanistan, the U.S. is considering replacing all U.S. troops with Blackwater mercenaries.
  • Why is that so dangerous? Because this is what the future looks like when you resurrect privatized warfare.
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Vikings unwittingly made their swords stronger by trying to imbue them with spirits

They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.

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  • Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
  • To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
  • They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
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Culture & Religion

China refutes U.S. claim that it's pushing space 'arms race'

"Here I want to remind all of you of a fact that the U.S. publicly defines outer space as a new battlefield," a Chinese foreign minister said.

U.S. Air Force
  • A Chinese foreign minister refuted U.S. claims that China and Russia are developing space weaponry.
  • China and Russia have recently ramped up cooperation on space programs.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S. has been skeptical of both nations, arguing that they're likely developing an array of space weapons.
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Politics & Current Affairs

Earth at 2°C hotter will be horrific. Now here’s what 4°C will look like.

This is what the world will be like if we do not act on climate change.

  • The best-case scenario of climate change is that world gets just 2°C hotter, which scientists call the "threshold of catastrophe".
  • Why is that the good news? Because if humans don't change course now, the planet is on a trajectory to reach 4°C at the end of this century, which would bring $600 trillion in global climate damages, double the warfare, and a refugee crisis 100x worse than the Syrian exodus.
  • David Wallace-Wells explains what would happen at an 8°C and even 13°C increase. These predictions are horrifying, but should not scare us into complacency. "It should make us focus on them more intently," he says.
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