Online snippets from the last week or so.
- The lead actor in a popular Ukrainian satirical comedy (about a teacher being elected president after his online ranting against state corruption goes viral) has been elected president of Ukraine on a mandate to clean up corrption. Ukraine is the first country (after Israel) to have a Jewish Prime Minister and President.
- London newspapers report that the number of violent crimes reported to the English and Welsh police rose – by nearly 20% last year, and doubling since 2008 – while the charging rate for all reported crimes fell to 8.2% – a new low. The government prefers estimates derived from its annual crime survey of 50,000 households which suggest little change in recent years.
- But the Wimbledon prowler has been brought to justice: he is thought to have committed up to 200 burglaries in the London suburb of Wimbledon over the last 10 years. He lived in Manchester, which suggests he clocked up about 1200 hours of commuting time.
- The New York Review of Books has a cracking review of Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind by Michael Massing. Both men identified the need for reform in the great institutions. But Erasmus, the elegant intellectual gradualist, held firm on the need for a consensus of believers, while Luther, the dogmatic absolutist, was (well – perhaps unintentionally) a harbinger of religious and political pluralism.
- On the subject of religious and political pluralism, two leading sportsmen and a prominent politician reaffirmed their belief in hell with the BBC reporting differing reactions in each case.
- In Bloomberg Opinion, Dan Wang makes the case that China will eventually rival the US in high tech. He thinks market forces (ie, competition) in its huge internal market will outweigh non-market forces (eg, state intervention and political control). The argument that China does markets better is not intuitive but it is definitely more sophisticated than those which said that the Soviet Union would overtake the the West.
- Meanwhile, the Financial Times reports that China is revising lending criteria for its international Belt and Road infrastructure programme over worries that some projects or countries may have difficulty in paying the money back.
- The Financial Times also says that Britain’s National Heath Service is facing a staffing crisis. Senior doctors risk earning nothing from extra work because of inflexible pension rules and high marginal tax rates.
- The self control couldn’t last for ever. Brexiteers are compared to Nazis.