Matters of Facts, and Opinions, this week

Catholic nuns pray during a mass by Pope Francis, as rain falls in Kenya's capital Nairobi, November 26, 2015.REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
Catholic nuns pray during a mass by Pope Francis, as rain falls in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, November 26, 2015.REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

What deserves attention, in this crazy and constant flood of distractions? That, always, is F&O’s  top question. Our aim to offer a journalism boutique of the best, most interesting, stories –to earn a regular spot in your travels through the web. Here are our new reads for the weekend; on Monday, we’ll have a series for the climate summit in Paris. If you have comments or suggestions,  please drop me a line at djones AT Thanks for your interest and support.


Paris, Pilots and our rhetoric around ISIS. By Sheldon Fernandez

The day after the atrocities in Paris I found myself pacing in my Toronto apartment, a split consciousness, my Facebook feed saturated with conflicting responses to the carnage.

U.S. Space mining law dangerous and potentially illegal. By Gbenga Oduntan

An event of cosmic proportions occurred on November 18 when the US congress passed the Space Act of 2015 into law. The legislation will give US space firms the rights to own and sell natural resources they mine from bodies in space, including asteroids.

Catholic confusion over the troublesome Pope, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist

For faithful Catholics, the whole point of the Pope and the Vatican is that they should be pillars of certainty in a troubled and troubling world. But as Argentinian Jesuit Jorge Mario Bergoglio approaches the end of his third year as Pope Francis, the relationships between the Pontif and his cardinals — the Princes of the Church – and the standing of the management of the Vatican – the Curio – are all beset by uncertainty and confusion.

Catastrophe will result if climate summit fails — Pope. By Philip Pullella and George Obulutsa

World leaders must reach a historic agreement to fight climate change and poverty at upcoming Paris talks, facing the stark choice to either “improve or destroy the environment”, Pope Francis said in Africa on Thursday.

Belgian soldiers and police patrol in central Brussels on November 22, 2015, after security was tightened in Belgium following the fatal attacks in Paris. REUTERS/Yves Herman
REUTERS/Yves Herman

Why the Paris attackers were based in Molenbeek. By Martin Conway

Just as during the German invasions of 1914 and 1940, war, it seems, is coming to France through Belgium. If one follows the logic of the statements of various French political leaders since the bloody attacks in Paris on November 13, Belgium has become the base from which Islamic State has brought the conflicts of the Middle East to the streets of Paris.

The Painting That Saved My Family From the Holocaust by Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica

Seventy-seven years ago, my grandmother left her fourth-floor apartment in Munich carrying a painting by Otto Stein, a modestly popular German artist. Earlier that month, the Nazis had launched a nationwide pogrom against Germany’s Jewish minority, a rampage in which gangs of men burned stores, schools and synagogues. In the aftermath of what became known as Kristallnacht, the Gestapo rounded up hundreds of Jewish men and sent them to the Dachau concentration camp. Among them was my grandfather, Jakob Engelberg.

How I watched Lee Child write a Jack Reacher novel. BAndy MartinLee Child. Photo courtesy of author, © Sigrid Estrada

Nobody really believes him when he says it. And in the end I guess it is unprovable. But I can put my hand on heart and say, having been there, and watched him at work, that Lee Child is fundamentally clueless when he starts writing. — British professor Andy Martin, who spent much of a year with author Lee Child as he wrote the 20th novel in his Jack Reacher series.



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