Iraqis under ISIS control say their lives have gotten better – “Perhaps the most important victory so far by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the extremist group tearing through Iraq, was not overwhelming the much larger Iraqi military or even seizing vast areas of northwest Iraq, including the major city of Mosul. It was convincing regular Iraqis that have come under ISIS rule to trust them. … ISIS looks like it might be winning the battle for Iraqis’ hearts and minds in the Sunni areas it has seized, and this could be enormously bad for Iraq’s crisis. It could make ISIS more powerful and more resilient in the mostly-Sunni northwest. Maybe worse, it could increase the possibility of the crisis spiraling into all-out civil war.”
Down Under – a New York Times review of ‘The Reef,’ by Iain McCalman – “By the end of McCalman’s transformative book, we feel the full force of this slow-motion emergency. In story after story of fascination and trepidation, in revelations and in requiems, this passionate history brings to life the Great Barrier Reef’s magnificent mutability. McCalman’s closing appeal is well earned: We have seen the splendor and now we need to act to slow the vanishing.”
A Job Seeker’s Desperate Choice – “The story of Shanesha Taylor, a mother who had a job interview but was unable to find child care, shows the harsh realities of today’s economy.”
World Cup feels China’s strong presence despite its absence from pitch – “A bevy Chinese companies are serving as the event’s official corporate sponsors and suppliers, symbolizing the growing economic power of a country whose leader is an avid soccer fan. … Besides the World Cup, another factor behind the current soccer mania in China is Xi Jinping, the country’s president. … Xi is scheduled to watch the World Cup final on June 13 at the stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The official purpose of Xi’s visit to Brazil is to attend the BRICS summit on July 15-16 in Fortaleza, Brazil, with the leaders of five major emerging countries, including Russia, India and South Africa as well as Brazil and China. Brazil, which hosts the conference, originally proposed to hold the summit around April, according to diplomatic sources. But the date was pushed back to immediately after the World Cup as Xi expressed his desire to watch the final. Xi’s long-cherished dream is to bring a World Cup to China and watch the Chinese national team win the title. Xi has been putting pressure on China’s soccer community to make efforts to realize this vision.