FROM Corinna Gilfillan
Conflict Diamonds At least one million African workers earn pennies a day in the backbreaking effort to find diamonds, which themselves have no intrinsic value at all, but serve as symbols of love, wealth and power, and that makes for an industry worth $60 billion a year. By the time they get to a jewelry store, there's no way to identify these stones that have been used to finance brutal conflict in Africa. Bad publicity has driven the industry to reduce smuggling and try to improve the appalling conditions of diamond miners. But the new Hollywood film, Blood Diamond , is raising disturbing questions. What are the human costs? How much smuggling is still going on? How important are diamonds to the economies of countries including Sierra Leone, Botswana and South Africa?
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."