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Silk Road | Ukraine arms | Tiny frogs

Posted by: The Conversation Global

Date: Friday, 29 March 2019


Editor's note

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a US$1 trillion investment in massive overseas infrastructure projects, from the UK to Uganda and beyond. Jonathan Silver and Alan Wiig are calling it “Silk Road urbanism”, aimed at bringing key cities into the orbit of the Chinese economy through ports, business districts, roads and railways. But will these investments actually benefit local people?

As hostilities that have already claimed 10,000 lives continue between Russia and Ukraine, the US continues to supply the latter with arms. But ultimately it’s ordinary people caught in the crossfire who are paying the price, says Liana Semchuk. While the weapons make big business money, they will do nothing to end the bloody conflict – and will likely make it last even longer.

Meet Mini mum, Mini scule and Mini ature: three of the five new mini frog species that have been discovered in Madagascar. Some are so tiny they’re smaller than a thumbnail. Mark D Scherz explains that the frogs belong to three different groups, revealing that the evolution of miniature frogs in Madagascar is more dynamic than previously thought.

Emily Lindsay Brown

Editor for Cities and Young People

Top Stories

View of Kampala. Shutterstock.

China’s ‘Silk Road urbanism’ is changing cities from London to Kampala – can locals keep control?

Jonathan Silver, University of Sheffield; Alan Wiig, University of Massachusetts Boston

China is funding global infrastructure projects to expand its influence and capacity for economic growth.

A solider poses with a Javelin anti-tank system during a military parade in Kiev, Ukraine. Shutterstock

Ukraine: US arms sales making big business money while ordinary people pay the price

Liana Semchuk, University of Oxford

At worst, more lethal aid could escalate the conflict further. At best, it will continue to keep alive a conflict that has already claimed more than 10,000 lives.

An adult male “Mini mum”, one of the world’s smallest frogs, rests on a fingernail with room to spare. Dr Andolalao Rakotoarison

Meet the mini frogs of Madagascar – the new species we’ve discovered

Mark D Scherz, Technical University Braunschweig

The largest of these frogs could sit happily on your thumbnail. The smallest is just longer than a grain of rice.

Politics + Society

Algeria: how peaceful protests can change a troubled nation

Abdelbaqi Ghorab, Lancaster University

Algerians are working to change their future while avoiding the bloodshed of their past.

Brexit Q+A: Theresa May offers to stand down as British prime minister, but there’s a catch

Tom Quinn, University of Essex

The prime minister has told her MPs that if they back her deal, she will leave office before the next stage of the Brexit process begins.

Business + Economy

How single women are driving gentrification in Hong Kong and elsewhere

Igor Vojnovic, Michigan State University; Minting Ye, Michigan State University

A new study examined how growing numbers of single women in one of the world's most expensive cities are contributing to its gentrification.

Why restructuring South Africa’s power utility won’t end the blackouts

Seán Mfundza Muller, University of Johannesburg

South Africa isn't having an honest debate about proposals to fix its power utility Eskom, and the role that renewables might play.

Science + Technology

The Matrix 20 years on: how a sci-fi film tackled big philosophical questions

Richard Colledge, Australian Catholic University

Cult film The Matrix was released 20 years ago this month. From Plato to Baudrillard, the film explored philosophical dilemmas we are still wrestling with today.

What is the best sense? Scientists are still battling it out

Harriet Dempsey-Jones, UCL

Would you rather lose your sense of touch or your vision? Here are the pros and cons of each, according to science.

En français

Verra-t-on la fin du ski dès 2050 ?

Hugues François, Irstea ; Samuel Morin, Météo France

Les stations de ski tentent de se préparer au déficit d’enneigement dans le contexte du changement climatique. Une situation qui ravive les oppositions entre aménageurs et protecteurs de la montagne.

Comment les athlètes s’adaptent et bénéficient des conditions environnementales extrêmes ?

Franck Brocherie, Institut national du sport de l'expertise et de la performance (INSEP)

Pour être un athlète de très haut niveau, il faut pouvoir être performant dans tous les environnements climatiques.

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