Paranoia and Purges For Venezuela As Oil Misery Continues


Originally posted on TIME:

As the finances of Venezuela continue to deteriorate under the collapse of crude oil prices, the government of President Nicolas Maduro is becoming more paranoid and vindictive.

Venezuela derives the vast majority of its export earnings from sending oil overseas. With the largest endowment of crude oil reserves in the world, the oil-driven economy worked well for the late Hugo Chavez: he provided generous support for the poor, and built allies in the western hemisphere by dispensing cash and cheap oil in exchange for political allegiance.

But state-owned PDVSA has struggled to keep production up. Rather than using its earnings to develop more fields, much of its earnings have been diverted for political and social projects. Chavez also purged PDVSA of thousands of experienced workers, leaving the company short of well-trained staff.

Chavez could paper over the decay of PDVSA’s production base because oil prices were so high in his…

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See Google’s Absolutely Stunning New Headquarters Design


Originally posted on TIME:

Google has unveiled its ambitious new plans for a sprawling, modern Googleplex. The new facility, being developed by architect Bjarke Ingels, features a series of glass, canopies the size of city blocks, new biking and walking paths and an emphasis on green space. Renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick is also involved in the project. Google hopes to complete the first stage of development by 2020, but the company will first have to win approval from Mountain View’s city council amid growing concern over Google’s control over the development of the community.

[time-brightcove videoid= 4084569777001]

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ISIS May Have Committed Genocide Against Iraq Minorities, Report Says


particularkev:

Is this really something we don’t already know? How about the crime of sitting by and letting them do it?

Originally posted on TIME:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) has systematically targeted minorities in Iraq and may be guilty of committing genocide, a new report from human rights groups says.

The report aims to shed light on the atrocities committed against minority religious groups, including Christians, Yazidis and Turkmen. Based largely on eyewitness accounts and field visits across Iraq, the report says ISIS has committed summary executions, sexual violence and torture that amount to crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.

“Information exists which would support a prima facie case that ISIS forces have committed the crime of genocide against religious minorities in northern Iraq, in particular against the Yezidi minority,” the report says.

The report, released in Brussels on Friday, comes days after ISIS kidnapped at least 90 Assyrian Christian men, women and children in Syria.

MORE: Inside ISIS, a TIME Special Report

ISIS overran large swathes of Iraq last…

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Inside Google’s plans for its shiny new headquarters


Originally posted on Quartz:

After 15 years in Mountain View, Google is giving its mothership a makeover. The company submitted plans today to the Mountain View City Council that reveal a slick, futuristic campus with glass walls, open space, and flexible structures that can adapt to the company’s changing needs.

The plans come from Thomas Heatherwick, whose firm Heatherwick Studio designed the cauldron at the 2012 London Olympics, and Bjarke Ingels, a Dutch architect who’s considered a rising star.

google hq renderings mountain view

Google plans to completely redevelop four sites where it has offices. The buildings will be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up to accommodate flexible and “lightweight block-like structures” that can be moved around to accommodate different teams. The real-estate needs of Google’s self-driving car team, for example, are very different from the needs of the search team.

google hq renderings mountain view

google hq renderings mountain view

The use of translucent canopies and glass walls will help blur the line between indoor and outdoor space, which makes sense given that the Google…

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American Missionary Kidnapped in Nigeria


particularkev:

Nigeria: Persecution News Update

Originally posted on TIME:

Armed men kidnapped an American missionary from a school in Nigeria and have demanded the equivalent of almost $300,000 for her safe return, Nigerian police said Tuesday. The Rev. Phyllis Sortor, a missionary with the Free Methodist Church in Seattle, was identified by her church as the U.S. citizen abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Kogi state.

A group of five armed men, three of whom had masks over their faces, jumped the walls of the compound and fired shots into the air at 10:30 a.m. local time Monday (4:30 a.m. ET), Kogi Police Commissioner Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi said. Speaking to NBC News…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

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ISIS Abducts At Least 90 Christians in Syria, Activists Say


Originally posted on TIME:

Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) militants have abducted at least 90 Christian men, women and children from a cluster of villages in northeastern Syria, according to reports received by human rights activists on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that ISIS militants seized members of the Assyrian community, a Christian minority sect, during a series of dawn raids centering on the town of Tal Tamr and neighboring villages.

Another group, the Syriac National Council of Syria, said that it had verified at least 150 people missing who were kidnapped in the raids.

The abductions occurred as Kurdish Peshmerga forces, backed by U.S. airstrikes, have waged a campaign against ISIS strongholds in northern Syria, forcing ISIS militants back by at least 3 miles, according to Peshmerga commanders and activists on the ground.

Islamist militants swearing allegiance to ISIS beheaded an estimated 21 Coptic Christians in Libya…

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