Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Procrastinator (some) Times Sunday 21st of December Edition

EDITORIAL

We are here again my friends. This will be -as you might have imagined- the last Procrastinator of the year 2014, and before going into the specific of this edition I have to ask you to really take a moment to reach out to us and tell us what do you like of The Procrastinator and what could we be doing better. If you read us, please take 5 min of your time to give us your always appreciated feedback. This is the only Christmas gift we will be asking from you.

However if you want to give a little more, and considering that the Ebola crisis in Africa is a big part of this edition, here's an article about how you can help in an efficient way. Medecins Sans Frontiers is generally on the top of all the lists about organizations that have been most visible and useful during the outbreak, here's a link to their website. You can also contribute with The School Fund that is a nonprofit organization linking students in the Third World to funders across the globe. 100% of online donations go directly to students' school fees. Or you can chose a different cause to contribute from these NGOs.

Now talking about this last 2014 edition: in our News section we are sharing an extensive report about TIME Magazine's person of the year: the Ebola fighters. And some extra info about the economic consequences of the Ebola outbreak via AFP and Vice. Oil prices falling and the historic announcement of Cuba and the US resuming diplomatic relations, are also in this section.

In Science & Technology, 9 giant steps women made this year and Google is heading for an exit in Russia. Our Culture & Entertainment section is filled with films, reviews, lists and links, because enjoying a good movie is the best holidays procrastination. Also political shock art in Russia and the word of the day. The 32 dog selfies that changed the world in 2014 (!) and the amazingly cute Juntowa in this week's In Dog We Trust by La Guía del Perro. And finally we asked our friends, contributors and fellow procrastinators about the books they loved the most procrastinating with during 2014 and we made a list! Have a look for interesting reading options to procrastinate with in 2015 and if you want you give us your recommendations in the comments, go on share the joy of meaningful procrastination!

I hope 2015, the year of the goat (and any other way you'd like to name the immediate future), will be a great year where a lot of things start falling into place after a very hectic and chaotic and definitely exciting 2014. I know it will be awesome and I hope you feel that way too!


Merry everything and happy reading!



NEWS



‘Ebola fighters’ have been named as the Time magazine person of the year for 2014 for their “risk, persistence and sacrifice” in the battle against the disease outbreak that has killed more than 6,000 people, reports The i100. Nancy Gibbs, editor of Time commented: "The rest of the world can sleep at night because a group of men and women are willing to stand and fight. For tireless acts of courage and mercy, for buying the world time to boost its defenses, for risking, for persisting, for sacrificing and saving." Have a look at the full report (large article and a couple of videos 11' and 6') in Time magazine. E.T.P. 1 hour.

Also, Vice's Samuel Oakford and Kayla Ruble wrote on Vice how the economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone Have Been Wrecked by Ebola. "Months before the Ebola virus crossed over the border from neighboring Guinea, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described Sierra Leone as "an inspiring experience for international peace-building efforts." The country, ravaged by a civil war that spanned the 1990s and early 2000s, was seemingly on track for economic growth and social stability." Read full article on Vice. E.T.P. 7'

Finally AFP reports that up to one million can be facing hunger in Ebola-hit countries. "Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. The deadly haemorrhagic fever that has killed 6,800 people has severely disrupted daily life in the worst-hit nations of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the latter two of which have gone so far as to ban Christmas celebrations. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Programme said the disease and the resulting restrictions had "caused a significant shock to the food and agriculture sectors in the affected countries". Read full article in Yahoo. E.T.P. 2'


Photo via Hamodia.com

The late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez helped keep the Cuban regime propped up, but that's not possible in an era of low oil prices, writes Girish Gupta in Time Magazine. "It is likely not a coincidence that talks between the United States and Cuba—which culminated yesterday in an announcement that the two countries would begin to resume full diplomatic relations—began just after the death the former Venezuelan president who had bankrolled Cuba’s Revolution.


Photo via The Economist.

"THE oil price has fallen by more than 40% since June, when it was $115 a barrel. It is now below $70. This comes after nearly five years of stability. At a meeting in Vienna on November 27th the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which controls nearly 40% of the world market, failed to reach agreement on production curbs, sending the price tumbling. Also hard hit are oil-exporting countries such as Russia (where the rouble has hit record lows), Nigeria, Iran and Venezuela. Why is the price of oil falling?" The Economist explains it, read full article here. E.T.P. 3'




The Economist shared a couple of days ago the Good Country Index, and index that tries to measure how much each country on earth contributes to the planet and to the human race. "Released on June 24th by Simon Anholt, an independent policy advisor, aims to overcome this. It ranks countries based on how much they do for others globally. Ireland and Finland come on top; Libya is rock bottom. The measure is based on 35 datasets broken down into seven areas, such as technology, health and culture. The idea is clever but the execution is tricky. The index often scales countries on a GDP basis to give poor countries a chance against rich ones." Although the index is flawed is some aspects, it is important (for me) to highlight how after 16 years of ""revolution"" (yes, doble inverted commas), Venezuela is now in the bottom 10 in Technology, Culture, Prosperity and Equality, that means that the contribution of Venezuela in those areas to the world is close to nothing... not that we didn't already know that. Anyway. Find out more about the nuances of this peculiar index in The Economist. E.T.P. 3'


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