Saturday, the 7th of April
Editor's note: We're thrilled with your response to the launch of our new Weekly News Quiz. In case you missed the announcement earlier this week, we have dragooned Australian news guru and Former Sydney Morning Herald Editor-in-Chief Peter Fray into crafting a challenging and funny current affairs test for you.

The quiz will appear in Our Picks every Tuesday morning. If you missed last week's quiz you can try it here. We'll be watching carefully to see who has been paying attention each week!
In death, as in life, Dr. Martin Luther King towers over America. The 50th anniversary of King's assassination has been marked with a mix of longing and tokenism. And one word was repeated more than any other in connection to King: legacy. 
A family gathers for a memorial service in Tennessee. PHOTO: Reuters
The moral arc
Civil rights leaders, preachers and politicians stood together on the balcony of what was once the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis (and is now the National Civil Rights Museum) to commemorate King's life. Reverend Jesse Jackson stood solemnly among them; a lifetime ago he was on that balcony when King was assassinated by a white nationalist. Below him a crowd gathered to mark the passing and memory of one of America's most vaunted figures. The message from the speakers was clear: carry on his legacy. 

But in 2018, that is still easier said than done. On nearly every available measurement of wealth, education and social mobility African Americans continue to lag behind whites. In some areas the disparity between the opportunities for white Americans and black Americans is almost indistinguishable from where it was in 1968. The incarceration rate for African Americans is a national disgrace. Many states are fighting a rearguard action to defend laws that entrench the suppression of black votes. And while the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police are slowly declining, the Black Lives Matter movement remains a target of public scorn. Seven in 10 Americans believe the state of race relations in their country is 'poor'.

At the ceremony civil rights icon Diane Nash electrified the crowd with the following words, "If the road to defeat Jim Crow [reactive laws that enforced racial segregation in the South] led to the jail house, we were going to go there. If it went to being beaten up, or sacrificing our lives, we were going to do that." It was a powerful reminder of the oft-forgotten realities of the civil rights movement: that its supporters were beaten, murdered, tortured and jailed.

Walking the walk
It is believed that King succeeded where many others struggled partly because his message was one of incremental change, legalistic language and religious affinity. By appropriating the terminology and philosophy of the oppressor - and couching his movement in their own terms - King went a long way to winning over the public, if not the state. Or to look at it another way, such is the burden of minority activism that even the terms of debate must be decided by the majority.

But it wasn't just his message, it was the man himself that we must celebrate. King's extraordinary humility and inner strength are widely admired today, but back then he was jailed, hounded in the press and personally singled out by the FBI director. The FBI's illegal COINTELPRO division even wiretapped and blackmailed King with the explicit goal of trying to force him to commit suicide before he could accept his Nobel Peace Prize. King is rightfully lionised for championing the Gandhian belief in peaceful protest. And yet peaceful protests by minorities continue to be undermined and delegitimised by American authorities even today. 

Abstractions and detractions
50 years on it is the very idea of King's struggle for equality that has now assumed the greatest currency in modern American discourse. This week President Donald Trump and his deputy Mike Pence both praised King and urged Americans to carry on his legacy. But it may be argued that his legacy was epitomised last year by the African American football players who knelt in protest during the national anthem - an action that both Trump and Pence vilified as "un-American".

A common refrain these days from those unwilling or unable to discuss America's racial turmoil is "don't politicise the issue". That's an awkward phrase, not only because it ungracefully obfuscates the fact that all human rights issues are inherently political, but also because politicising the issue is precisely what King would have done. The simple fact is that by placing King on a pedestal and viewing his struggle as a closed chapter in history many Americans escape the harsh realities that both he and contemporary minority groups continue to endure.

Carrying the torch
It would be incorrect however, to form the impression that nothing whatsoever has changed. The very idea of an African American president would have been laughable 50 years ago. And in state houses and courts across the country the African American community is also slowly edging closer to a more equitable share of America's resources and rights. Just this week in Maryland the state government forced through a veto-proof bill to automatically register people to vote if they apply for a drivers' license, state ID card, health insurance or social service. Much work is still to be done but it's through measures like these that America will ultimately carry the torch for King.
Israeli troops firing into unarmed crowds last weekend. PHOTO: AFP
The death toll from a week of violence in the Gaza Strip stands at 21 and many fear it may rise this weekend. Exactly a week ago Palestinians gathered to commemorate Land Day, the event that marks the mass expropriation of Palestinian farmland in 1976. Tens of thousands of Gazans marched on the security fence that rings the besieged territory. Their intention was to begin a sit-in at the border that would last until May 15, the 70th anniversary of 'Nakba' (the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians by the creation of the state of Israel).

But a cruel cycle of violence manifested instead: protestors hurled rocks over the fence and were met with a barrage of gunfire from Israeli snipers. On the first day of the rally alone 17 Gazans were killed and another 1500 were wounded; including 758 by live ammunition. While the United Nations, the European Union and even the Pope decried this disproportionate use of force, politicians in Tel Aviv lauded their soldiers' actions.

The Arab League met this week to discuss the massacre, but there is a new consensus emerging around the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine. As part of his publicity tour in the West, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman signalled a drastic shift in Gulf policy. In an interview he said, "I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation. I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land." This warming of tone towards Israel is just the latest sign of detente between Riyadh and Tel Aviv as both countries seek to build shared leverage against their rivals in Iran. 
Google Documents. Google Drive. Google Drone (just kidding). PHOTO: The Independent
Over 3,000 Google employees have signed an open letter to their CEO detailing concerns about a perceived drift away from the company's principles. The crux of their concern is Google's mooted provision of  its artificial intelligence technology, TensorFlow, to the United States armed forces. The program scans input from surveillance drones and chooses objects of interest for humans to review. Google argues that this does not constitute an offensive component of the drone program; however critics believe this action is a crucial step that leads to target acquisition. Google has also responded to this criticism in the past by arguing that improved image recognition will reduce the incidence of mistakes and harm to innocent civiliansIn other news Apple lured across Google's top artificial intelligence executive to bolster its own AI stocks.

It's no great surprise that technology companies are rushing to snap up lucrative contracts with the American military. But with the recent Facebook controversy fresh in their minds employees are clearly worried about reputation and other long-term risks of such work. As militaries try to create close-to-autonomous weapons platforms it is doubtless that tech companies will be partly responsible for their development and use. But this isn't a problem just for the tech sector to ponder. Earlier this week a South Korean university faced an academic boycott after the school announced it would begin whole-hearted research into AI weapons.
Lula's downfall is nearly complete. PHOTO: Nelson Almeida
  1. The enigmatic, beloved and corrupt Brazilian ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva was (finally) ordered to jail; his is the largest scalp of a broad and ongoing graft investigation
  2. A 'caravan' of Central American migrants that enraged Trump was disbanded in Mexico; in the same week he ordered the National Guard to the border
  3. South Africans mourned the death of anti-Apartheid resistance leader Winnie Madikizela-Mandela who leaves behind a complicated legacy
  4. The Afghan government came under intense pressure after a botched airstrike in Kunduz province levelled a madrassa, killing 70 (most of whom were children)
  5. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a concert of South Korean pop groups as the two nations strengthen ties ahead of disarmament talks
  6. As his first set of tariffs against China came into play, Donald Trump mulled the possibility of a further $100b in trade restrictions on China
  7. Spotify launched its unusual listing on the US stock market as predicted this week, fewer shares were exchanged than expected but the stock has settled in the projected range
  8. In a bid to circumvent a regulatory impasse 21st Century Fox proposed that future owner Disney should buy the long-coveted Sky News channel
  9. Tesla announced a slight improvement in the troubled production of its Model 3 electric cars, although Elon Musk described the situation as "production hell"
  10. Another flare-up in Indian-controlled Kashmir saw 19 people die as rebels and government forces clashed in Shopian district
Good story. PHOTO: Kento Mori
The world's most northerly-dwelling non-human primates, the Japanese macaque (or snow monkey) may be more similar to us than we care to admit. The long-standing phenomenon of snow monkeys using thermal hot spring baths for themselves has humoured Japanese spa owners for quite some time. New research shows that the snow monkeys aren't simply keeping warm in the cold winter months; they are bathing to reduce stress. Remember this the next time you have a hot bath.

New research shows that if the current pace of wind and solar penetration continues (and it will very likely accelerate) then wind and solar PV will entirely supplant coal, oil and gas within 20 years. 
The regions that bore the brunt of Maria are still without power. PHOTO: Erika P Rodriguez
Six months after Hurricane Maria tore through the Caribbean, the most isolated communities of Puerto Rico are still without power. Across the mountainous spine of the island there are a handful of 'last mile' towns that are still patiently waiting to have their lights turned back on. That Washington has allowed a US territory to languish this long without power is astonishing and it must sit alongside the poisoned water of Flint as an example of wanton negligence. Meanwhile locals are already bracing themselves for next season's hurricanes.

Royal Dutch Shell is reeling from an investigative report into the company's cognisance of the impending danger of climate change. Like ExxonMobil and many other major oil corporations around the world, Shell was well aware of its role in exacerbating climate change as early as 1988. But executives from Shell (like those of their competitors) sat on the inconvenient information. The danger was apparently worth the profits.
Your weekend long read... Get your fingers on this absolutely irresistible title from the Financial Times: "'We need to talk about Igor': The rise of Russia's most powerful oligarch".

What we're watching... A spine-tingling and deeply uncomfortable look into memory, obsession and responsibility. Kitty Green's "Casting JonBenet" is a masterpiece documentary from last year and is definitely worth your time.

Who we're following... Vincent Bal's utterly whimsical Instagram feed featuring 'Shadowology' - sketches that incorporate shadows of everyday objects to surprising and amusing effect.