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The Disappeared

Full and atrocious story of the 43 Mexican students kidnapped and murdered in September. Mexico has seen bigger massacres in recent years, but this one provoked unprecedented national anger: “Perhaps it was the scale of the violence, or the sheer brutality, or that the victims were college students, or that the perpetrators were mostly municipal police, or that the mayor and the police chief were probably behind the attack” (6,000 words)

Why Pakistan Shields Terrorists

The slaughter of school children in Peshawar ought surely be enough to persuade Pakistan that it cannot go on harbouring the Taliban. And yet, Pakistan will probably not change its behaviour. Its generals are determined to maintain the Taliban as a weapon against India. The Pakistani government will find it easier to ride out public outrage over this massacre than to take on its own army and intelligence services (1,050 words)

The Conventional Wisdom On Oil Is Always Wrong

Don’t trust any forecast for oil production or oil prices, however closely reasoned and however persuasive. There are thousands of known variables which influence the price, any number of unknown variables, and infinite complexity in their interactions. “That’s the thing about the conventional wisdom: It always makes sense at the time. It’s only later that we can see all the reasons it was wrong” (1,650 words)

The Race To Save Peter Kassig Pick of the day

Gripping account of back-channel manoeuvring to save Islamic State hostage Peter Kassig, beheaded on November 16th. American lawyer Stanley Cohen urged Jordanian cleric Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi to lean on his former pupil, Turki al-Binali, Islamic State’s chief scholar. The plan failed when Jordanian police arrested Maqdisi. There again, had it succeeded, it might have led to rapprochement between IS and Al-Qaeda (5,980 words)

The Greatest Tax Story Ever Told

Wall Street lawyer John Carroll probably did more damage to US tax revenues than any other individual in history by inventing the “inversion”, whereby a US corporation moves its headquarters overseas and avoids US taxes. “There was a loophole in the law, and we capitalized on it legitimately”. He also co-invented the currency swap. The partners at his law firm wrote an operetta in his honour (2,160 words)

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