A world of walls: the brutish power of man-made barriers

Trumps border wall isnt unique. From Calais to Hungary, walls are always with us The latest atrocity in El Paso, when an avowed white supremacist drove for 10 hours to a supermarket used by Latino families in order to murder and maim, was explicitly motivated by Trumps baleful, anti-immigrant rhetoric. He was also a big fan of Trumps wall, which Trump himself has rhapsodically described as an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall. Yet despite its Ozymandian ambition, the beautiful wall has stuttered and stumbled, still more frenzied rallying cry than bricks and mortar reality. Geography and logistics quietly conspire against it Americas border with Mexico is nearly 2,000 miles long, for a start. Incendiary talk of spiralling …

A city suffocating: most polluted city in Americas struggles to change

Wood smoke smothers Coyhaique, Chile, in June and July. Yet despite the WHO ranking its air worst in the Americas, residents are reluctant to alter their habits I was born and raised beside a roaring fire, says Yasna Seguel proudly, as wet snowflakes tap against the kitchen window behind her and orange flames warm an outstretched palm. A tobacco-yellow stain soaks into the table cloth as she sets her mate gourd down to select a fresh log for the fire. Every evening through the bitterly cold winter months of June and July, the southern city of Coyhaique, the most populous in the region of Aysn in Chilean Patagonia, is smothered by a thick, fragrant blanket of damp wood smoke that …

‘This is not a

They call it X Day a major earthquake striking the heart of the worlds most populous city in the most calamitous event since the second world war. Can hi-tech solutions save Tokyo? Every day, at 5pm, the gentle melody of the childrens song Yuyake Koyake chimes across the Minato area of Tokyo from a loudspeaker one of hundreds dotted across schools and parks throughout this megacity of 37 million people. The daily jingle does more than signify the arrival of evening. It is a test for the system that is designed to save Tokyoites from what would be one of the worst natural disasters in recorded human history: an earthquake striking the centre of the most populous city on Earth. …

‘Bike country No 1’: Dutch go electric in record numbers

E-bikes now outsell standard bicycles in Netherlands, with quality prized more than price In what was already a long-running purple patch for the Dutch cycle industry, domestic sales records have been broken in the last 12 months despite spiralling prices, as technological developments push the standard push-bike into the annals of history. The Dutch love affair with the bicycle is well chronicled there are 22.5m of them in a country of 17 million people but has moved up a level, according to a study by the RAI Vereniging, an organisation representing the automotive and cycling sector. More than 1m bicycles were sold last year in the Netherlands, up 5.7% on 2017, and at the same time Dutch consumers appear willing …