"All newborn children in Scotland will receive the boxes by the summer following a three-month pilot. The boxes include clothing, bedding and toys and are based on a project that has been running in Finland since 1938 to give all children an equal start."
If you own a smartphone and are trying to learn a language, you probably have Duolingo. English is far and away the most dominant, with a caveat: For some learners, English is the only language Duolingo offers with translation into their native tongue. That doesn’t change the fact of universal interest in English, though, which Duolingo notes is studied by 53% of its users. Things get more interesting when you look at the second-most popular language by country. There French takes the lead, followed by Spanish, German, and Portuguese.
Walk on the streets and you´ll be exposed to its informal economy: people who do what they can to eke out a living including washing windshields, selling food, or even singing, dancing, and performing acrobatics for a tip.
What Americans may not know is that Mexico City is home to the wealthiest people, the poshest neighborhoods, the most exclusive shops, entertainment venues, and cultural centers on the planet.
"Back in the ’70s, almost a hundred reporters around the country – Washington Post bureau chiefs, rovers, freelancers and me, their desk-bound editor – were trying to get our arms around how North America worked, really. Not how it should work. But how it did work. Forget those nice neat rectangles in the middle of the U.S. Let’s be real: The mountains of western Colorado are totally alien from the wheat fields of eastern Colorado. And Miami is part not of Florida, but its own watery Caribbean realm. And what a terrible idea is 'California.' It behaves as if it covers three warring civilizations. The result was my 1981 book, 'The Nine Nations of North America.' The reader reaction was astonishing. This map – drawn to anticipate the news – revealed something much deeper. It turned out to be a map of culture and values, which have nothing to do with our perversely drawn state and national boundaries."
The discovery of a headless corpse in the Netherlands helped Belgium and its bigger Dutch neighbor resolve a property squabble that began in 1961.
In a region that has long known geopolitical and linguistic squabbles, and where Belgium has lived in the shadow of its neighbor, the land swap was anything but inevitable. In 1961, when the Meuse was reconfigured to aid navigation, it had the side effect of pushing three pieces of land onto the wrong side of the river. The uninhabited area subsequently gained a reputation for lawlessness, wild parties and prostitution.
Tags: borders, political, territoriality, Belgium, Netherlands, unit 4 political, Europe.
"Forced to choose between limiting population or trying to increase food production, we chose the latter and ended up with starvation, warfare, and tyranny. Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest-lasting life style in human history. In contrast, we're still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has tumbled us, and it's unclear whether we can solve it."
"To become a Japanese citizen, a foreigner must display 'good conduct', among other things. The rules do not specify what that means, and make no mention of living wafu (Japanese-style). But for one candidate, at least, it involved officials looking in his fridge and inspecting his children’s toys to see if he was Japanese enough (he was). Bureaucratic discretion is the main reason why it is hard to get Japanese nationality. The ministry of justice, which handles the process, says officials may visit applicants’ homes and talk to their neighbors."
"What has lead to this marriage squeeze? First, millions women have gone 'missing'. A generation ago, a preference for sons and the greater availability of prenatal screening meant first Chinese couples, then Indian ones, started aborting female fetuses and only giving birth to boys. At its extreme, in parts of Asia, more than 120 boys were being born for every 100 girls. Now, the generation with distorted sex ratios at birth is reaching marriageable age. The result is that single men far outnumber women."
"Talk about creating a sense of place! This neighborhood in #Covington draws on German roots to create a restaurant/pub district. Even the non-German restaurants in the area evoke an old world cultural landscape aesthetic in a way that makes the neighborhood appealing to visitors and prospective residents. #culturallandscape #placemaking."
"Colored printed sections showing the map of the world are cut to shape then pasted onto the surface of the globes and a protective coat of varnish is added. Narrator recounts the fact that lots of the workers have been there for over 30 years and quips: 'While the rest of the mankind does its best to blow the world up, they like building a new one.'"
The train is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's vision for 'One Belt, One Road' -- dubbed by some as the new silk road. It's China's infrastructure initiative, which Xi hopes will improve China's economic ties with Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
"Washington may be the political center of the free world, but its 670,000 residents don’t have a say in the national legislature. What they do have is a nonvoting delegate in the House of Representatives. Eleanor Holmes Norton can introduce legislation and vote in committee, but she can’t vote on the House floor. Over the course of 13 terms, the 'Warrior on the Hill' been fighting to change that."
"How do you get Google to visit your small, remote island group with its Street View vehicles, and digitize your roads for the benefit of locals and tourists alike? If you are the Faroe Islands, then you exploit your local resources to roll your own Street View, in the hopes of attracting Google's attention. Behold: Sheep View 360, a solar-powered 360-degree camera, mounted on a sheep's back. Sheep View takes advantage of one great Street View feature: You can upload your own images to Google's service. So Durita Dahl Andreassen, working for the tourist site Visit Faroe Islands, decided to kick-start the Faroe Islands' entry by putting the camera on a sheep and letting it wander free, then uploading the photos."
Some 100 people are arrested after protests against using French in Cameroon's English-speaking region.
Areas controlled by Britain and France joined to form Cameroon after the colonial powers withdrew in the 1960s. The country has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions - eight are Francophone and use the French civil law. English-speakers have long complained that they face discrimination. They often complain that they are excluded from top civil service jobs and that government documents are often only published in French, even though English is also an official language. Bamenda is the founding place of Cameroon's largest opposition political party, the Social Democratic Front.
In developed countries around the world, people think immigrant populations are much larger than they actually are.
Americans consistently mention immigration as one of the nation’s most pressing political concerns, and it has become a signature issue in the presidential campaign. But while many Americans consider immigration one of the biggest issues for the future president, surveys suggest that they also have little understanding of the scale of the problem. The United States wasn’t alone in this tendency to exaggerate.
"Environmental possibilism and determinism are theories, put forth in order to comprehend and understand the role played by the physical environmental conditions in the emergence and progress of any human culture or society in a particular location."
"The Catalan capital’s radical new strategy will restrict traffic to a number of big roads, drastically reducing pollution and turning secondary streets into ‘citizen spaces’ for culture, leisure and the community. Black routes allow public transport and cars at 50km/h, while green routes only allow private vehicles at 10km/h to prioritize pedestrians and cycling."
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