Migrants and David Simon’s latest: matters of Facts, and Opinions

A boy walks through Gevgelija train station near the Greek border with Macedonia July 30, 2015. Tens of thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, use the Balkans route to get into the European Union, passing from Greece to Macedonia and Serbia and then to western Europe. After walking across the border into Macedonia to the small local station of Gevgelia, migrants pile onto an overcrowded four-carriage train in sweltering heat, young infants among them, to travel about 200 km north. Their aim: to enter Serbia on foot, another step in their uncertain search for a better life. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski
A boy walks through Gevgelija train station near the Greek border with Macedonia.  REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

This week we bring to you an eclectic array of stories. Inside our site find works on David Simon’s new U.S. TV series on HBO; the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, migrants, and columns that will provoke — at least — thought.

In Dispatches:

Migrants: A Train Towards a New Life. Photo-essay by Ogden Reofilovski, Reuters

This summer tens of thousands of refugees have passed through Macedonia, another step in their uncertain search for a better life in western Europe. They all travel in harsh conditions and face many challenges en route. The small railway station of Gevgelia, a stone’s throw from the border with Greece, has space for about 20 passengers to wait comfortably for a train heading north.

Korean Peninsula Tensions Rising. By Ju-min Park and Sohee Kim 

A man from an anti-North Korea and conservative civic group holds up a banner depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally in central Seoul, South Korea, August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A man from an anti-North Korea and conservative civic group holds up a banner depicting Kim Jong Un. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korea stands ready to respond to further provocations from North Korea, the presidential Blue House said on Saturday, as an ultimatum loomed for Seoul to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts by late afternoon or face military action. Tension on the Korean peninsula has been running high after an exchange of artillery fire.

Bison on the prairie, a conservation success. By Todd Reubold (*unlocked)

Three years ago, 63 bison originally from Yellowstone National Park left a quarantine facility just outside the park’s boundary where they were being monitored for brucellosis and made the journey nearly 400 miles to the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana. The transfer, which brought bison back to a stretch of the high country prairie from which they had been absent since the 1870s, was part of a larger program aimed at moving the animals to remote locations across the West to boost resilience to diseases that could wipe out a single herd.

Mass grave reveals organised violence among Europe’s first farmers. By Rick Schulting (*unlocked)

The discovery of 26 bodies with lethal injuries in a 7,000 year old mass grave in Germany provides more evidence of organised large-scale violence in Neolithic Europe. One theory blames the environment. A period of climatic instability led to increased competition for resources and eventually to conflict – including the extermination of some entire communities. This interpretation very much divides the room.

In Arts:

HBO’s “Show Me a Hero:” Q&A With David Simon. By Marcelo Rochabrun (*unlocked)

HBO’s TV series Show Me a Hero: In an America generations removed from the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the young mayor (Oscar Isaac) of a mid-sized city is faced with a federal court order to build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town. His attempt to do so tears the entire city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the mayor and his political future.

 Hail to the Chieftains: Paddy Moloney, by Brian Brennan (*subscription)

Nobody had ever made a living playing Irish traditional instrumental music so Paddy Moloney followed his mother’s advice and got himself a day job. He worked from nine to five as a clerk at a Dublin building supplies firm and spent his evenings and weekends playing tin whistle and uilleann pipes at community halls and house parties around Ireland. He experimented with different combinations of instruments in trios and quartets until he found a sound he liked well enough to record. The resulting album, The Chieftains I, was released in 1963 when Moloney was 25.

In Commentary and Expert Witness:

As religions grow, so will world’s problems, by Tom Regan (*unlocked)

The recent report on future religious trends published by the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050.” is an amazing look at the future of the world’s religious and non-religious alike. It’s also worrisome.

Refugees are now the biggest crisis facing the European Union, by Jonathan Manthorpe (*subscription)

Among the many compelling pictures in recent weeks of would-be refugees swarming across the Mediterranean one from the Greek island of Lesbos caught my attention in particular. It was a short video of an infuriated Greek woman confronting a milling throng of young and apparently fit and healthy Syrian men who had recently made the short passage to her island from Turkey in hope of sanctuary in Europe. “Go home and fight,” she yelled repeatedly at the young men. “Go home and fight.” I could see her point.

Dementia epidemic may not actually be getting worse. By  Yu-Tzu Wu and Carol Brayne (*unlocked)

The notion of a dementia epidemic has been a big concern in ageing societies across the globe for some time. With the extension of life expectancy it seems to be an inevitable disaster – one of the “greatest enemies of humanity”, according to UK prime minister David Cameron. Many shocking figures have been published pointing to dramatic increases in dementia prevalence and massive predicted costs and burdens. Yet new evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

Last but not least, in case you missed them:

Military gambit behind Putin’s Arctic oil ambitions;  Blasts in Chinese port kill 50, injure at least 700;  The search for sustainable plasticsBehind the scenes of the Tour de FranceJapanese Remorse: Once More With Feeling;  …. Browse our Reports, Opinion-Features and Photo-essay sections for much, much more. Access the entire site with a $1 day pass, or help support us with a subscription. Thanks for your interest.


*Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded content,” or solicit donations from foundations or causes; this is possible because some of our work is behind a paywall. Please support us by purchasing a $1 day pass or subscription (click here), making a donation, and/or spreading the word.