What We’re Watching: German Climate Skeptics and Somali Entrepreneurs

Populist Climate Skeptics – Signalista Alex Kliment spotted the trend of far-right parties rallying against the costs of mitigating climate change early in coverage of the Finnish elections. Now similar ideas have found a foothold in Germany. Ahead of elections for the European Parliament later this month, the far-right Alternative for Germany party has added charges that climate change is a hoax to its attacks on Muslim migrants.

Somali entrepreneurs – The (important) good news is that Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, is emerging from decades of war. The (much less important) bad news is that better times bring more people and heavier traffic. Not to worry. As of May 1, we now have the Go! app to help us hail a motorcycle for a quick ride through the congestion. The service helps customers order a ride online or flag down a yellow-clad driver passing by on a yellow bike.

We're Ignoring: Ugly American Politics and Beautiful North Korean Defectors

Calls to Scrap the US Electoral College – In 2016, Donald Trump became the second Republican in 16 years to be elected president while receiving fewer votes than his Democratic opponent. That has led to calls to scrap the US "electoral college," the system by which candidates win presidential elections via delegates from individual states rather than a majority of votes cast. Not surprisingly, 74 percent of Republican voters want to keep the current system, and 78 percent of Democrats want to scrap it. Unfortunately for Democrats, this change would require a constitutional amendment passed by two-thirds of the House and Senate and approved by 38 states, or a constitutional convention called by 34 states. Both are highly unlikely.

Defector Beauties – This South Korean television show centers on attractive young women who have defected from North Korea and includes the kind of zaniness designed to boost TV ratings in the Internet era. It's almost too weird to ignore. But not quite.

Ferrera Erbognone, a small town in the northern Italian province of Pavia, is home to one of the most cutting-edge computing centers in the world: Eni's Green Data Center. All of the geophysical and seismic prospecting data Eni produces from all over the world ends up here. Now, the Green Data Center is welcoming a new supercomputing system: HPC5, an advanced version of the already powerful HPC4. Due to be completed by early 2020, HPC5 will triple the Green Data Center's computing power, from 18.6 to 52 petaflops, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations per second.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

A few days ago, the New York Times published a bombshell report on the Chinese government's systematic oppression of Muslims in Western China. The story was about many things: human rights, geopolitics, Chinese society – but it was also about technology: Beijing's repression in Xinjiang province is powered in part by facial recognition, big data, and other advanced technologies.

It's a concrete example of a broader trend in global politics: technology is a double-edged sword with sharp political consequences. Artificial intelligence, for example, can help develop new medicines but it can also support surveillance states. Social media helps nourish democracy movements and entertains us with cat memes, but it also feeds ISIS and 4Chan.

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Increasingly violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong have dealt a major blow to the city's once booming economy. Tourism – an economic lifeline in that city – has dropped, and retailers are suffering from a sharp decline in sales. Now, six months since the unrest began, Hong Kong has recorded its first recession in a decade, meaning its economy has contracted for two consecutive quarters. Here's a look at how Hong Kong's quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) growth has fared during the past two years.

Tehran's Next Move: "We don't want an Islamic Republic, we don't want it," was the chant heard among some protesters in Tehran over the weekend after the government announced a 50 percent fuel price hike meant to fund broader support for the country's poor. Under crippling US sanctions, the country's economy has plummeted, unleashing a "tsunami" of unemployment. What started Friday as nationwide economic protests took on a political coloring, as protestors in some cities tore up the flag and chanted "down with [Supreme Leader] Khamenei!". The unrest seems to be related, at least indirectly, to widespread demonstrations against Tehran-backed regimes in Iraq and Lebanon as well. Economically-motivated protests erupt in Iran every few years, but they tend to subside within weeks under harsh government crackdowns. So far, the authorities have shut down the internet to prevent protestors from using social media to organize rallies. But Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps has warned of more "decisive action" if the unrest continues.

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