Sweden’s experiment with the 6-hour work day

Happier staff.  Increased profits.  Lower turnover rate.  These are just a few of the reported benefits of the six-hour work day, adopted this year by employers across Sweden - from retirement homes to car centers and hospitals. This approach is not entirely new.  Thirteen years ago, Toyota service centers in the coastal city of Gothenburg cut shifts for their mechanics.  The company reported rising profits and increased staff satisfaction as a result, and the concept has been in place ever s...
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Sauna for the Soul

A Finnish proverb says, “If a sick person is not cured by tar, spirits [alcohol], or sauna, then they will die.” Sauna is the only Finnish word to have entered the international lexicon, and appropriately so: saunas are emblematic of Finnish culture.  The country boasts 3.3 million of them, a statistic made even more impressive when compared to Finland’s population of 5.3 million.  The average Finn family, urban or rural, owns at least one.   Dating back thousands of years, this unique bat...
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Change on the Horizon: Buhari Defeats Jonathan in Nigeria

When King George III of England was told that George Washington was resigning from his office, the King responded: “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” Much of the success of the American democracy is derived from the values of our first president—the first man in modern history to voluntarily surrender his executive power. In Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan will have to do just that. In order to ensure the long-term survival of Africa’s largest democracy, he must...
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Rappin' Across the World

It’s often tossed around that America’s largest export is its culture. Whether or not this is accurate (I would pay money to see a cultural exports vs. explosives exports graph), it is undeniable that American culture does hold a great deal of influence overseas, and nowhere is this clearer than in the world of pop music. Since the creation of jazz, people in distant lands have been fascinated with the musical stylings of those crazy Americans. It shouldn’t be any surprise that rap has become a ...
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Newest Income Generator: Royal Babies

The past few weeks have seen a large amount of speculation, reporting and general hoopla around one small thing, a recently born baby boy who happens to be third in line for the throne of England. News agencies from around the world were parked outside the royal residence and the designated hospital for weeks, gossips from New York to Sydney have discussed names and baby raising methods, and every piece of clothing worn during the Duchess' pregnancy has been scrutinized the world over. The news ...
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AbbotobottobottoBATMAN! Pakistans newest take on Six Flags.

Abbotabad. Land of Pakistanis premier military academy, headquarters of the military's medical corps, home to the compound where Osama Bin Laden was killed. And soon enough it'll also be one of the premier amusement park destinations in Pakistan! The timing of the development is interesting, coming a little more than 18 months after Bin Laden's death, and nearly exactly a year after the Bin Laden compound was demolished. Along with their announcement of plans to begin construction on the park,...
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Hungry for a Story: the Hunger Games

The release of the first movie in the Hunger Games trilogy made a huge splash on the big screens. After its first weekend, Hunger Games had the third best opening of all time only behind Harry Potter: the Deathly Hallows Part II and The Dark Knight. The film adaptation stars twenty-year old Jennifer Lawrence, an Oscar nominee. The three part book series, written by Suzanne Collins, is a story of a girl, Katniss Everdeen, as she volunteers to take her sister’s place in a life and death reality ...
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Petro-patronage: How the Middle East is Buying Its Way to the Top

Class has just ended at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.  Several students stroll out of their lecture hall, chatting in Arabic.  They walk down a block of gleaming, white, futuristic buildings and meet up with friends who go to Cornell, University College, and HEC.  The students discuss their classes and the recent Champions League matches while having a picnic lunch under a grove of palm trees. This could be happening right now at Education City in Doha, Qatar, where the oil...
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Music in the Middle East: How Hip Hop Affected the Arab Spring

“I heard them say/the revolution won’t be televised/Al Jazeera proved them wrong/Twitter has him paralyzed/80 million strong” – Omar “Offendum” Chakaki, #Jan25 Of the many factors that make up the impressive impact of the Arab Spring, the strategic use of media might be what best motivates those who wish for revolution and for definitive change in their lives. More specifically, the youth of the Middle East and North African regions are motivated by a musical component of their campaigns for re...
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Chinese Poetry: New life in old classics

A smattering of Chinese poetry will please both Sinophiles and the casual reader The Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry. Edited by Tony Barnstone and Chou Ping. Random House; 512 pages; $15. 对酒不觉暝 落花盈我衣 醉起步溪月 鸟远人亦稀 Facing my wine, I did not see the dusk, Falling blossoms have filled the folds of my clothes. Drunk, I rise and approach the moon in the stream, Birds are far off, people too are few. Li Bai (701-762 AD), widely considered the greatest of all Chinese poets, had an unfortunate ...
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