Foreign Policy’s Catherine A. Traywick has a detailed look at why the Philippine state was so slow to respond to Typhoon Haiyan — and what it reveals about the country’s difficult politics. In short, relief organizations believe they have plenty of supplies, but distribution is being delayed and diverted by local politicians, eager to find a political opportunity out of the deadly disaster.
Corruption is common in the country, so that politicians are seeking to profit politically off the misfortune of their constituents isn't especially surprising. In July, 18 senators were implicated in the misuse or embezzlement of at least $25.5 million intended for local development efforts.
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The other Da Vinci Code: Building a 500-year-old instrument
No one ever accuses Leonardo Da Vinci of laziness. In between painting the Mona Lisa, uncovering the secrets of human anatomy and inventing the helicopter, he also found time to invent the viola organista — a bizarre combination of a cello and a church organ. But while he conceived it, he never actually saw one built.
Now, five centuries later, a Polish pianist had one built and recently produced a concert on it.
PRI’s The World has a video of the concert, and a bit of backstory on its creation.
Paris is developing a taste for grasshopper — with quail eggs
Do you like your water scorpions over easy, or just lightly sautéd? How about palm weevils with beetroot? All of these insect delicacies and more can be found on Parisian menus — and not just at one restaurant. The BBC has a report about the emergence of edible insects as a downright trend in Paris.
Amsterdam's unique approach to litter also addresses over-indulging
The government of Netherlands has a rather unique solution in mind for Amsterdam's litter problem. And, not coincidentally, it also serves to "solve" the problem of people who regularly enjoy a glass or two more than they should. The Independent has been looking at a new policy to put chronic alcoholics to work cleaning the streets of Amsterdam.
Stuxnet, the early years
By now, we've mostly heard of the Stuxnet cyber-worm, the most famous cyberweapon ever employed. It was extremely simple, tricking the centrifuges used in Iran's nuclear program into spinning out of control. But new research published in Foreign Policy details the famous worm's sinister cousin. It turns out Stuxnet actually came in two parts, with the first and more complex part installed years before part two.
The sinister land of cuddly rabbits
Japan's Okunojima island has proven increasingly popular with tourists, at least in part because of its massive bunny population. But the cute and cuddly bunnies belie the island's deadly history as a lab and testing ground for Japan's chemical weapons program before and during World War II. PRI's The World has the story, as well as video of the island's popular rabbits.
What we're seeing on social
"Speak well of ur enemies: u made them!" Love the slogans on the backs of Nairobi minibuses. pic.twitter.com/WBoIdrOSws
— Gabriel Gatehouse (@ggatehouse) November 20, 2013
Weather around the world
Heavy rains in the Middle East have led to flooding in Iraq, killing at least 11 people. According to The Daily Star of Lebanon, three days of rain in the central and southern part of the countries have led to rising waters on city streets and a building collapse that killed six. More rain is expected in coming days.