The DailyBrief

Monday January 9, 2017

US Marines are gearing up for a return to Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Around 300 Marines will provide support to Afghan security forces battling Taliban insurgents. The deployment to Helmand will be the Marines’ first to the southern province since they left in 2014 as the US declared an end to its combat mission.

The case against human slavery was put to rest a long time ago – so why, asks Duncan Jepson of Liberty Asia, does the scourge of modern slavery remain a thriving business in our globalized, regulated and digital world? What holds us back from ending exploitation, he says, is a lack of basic data needed to make the right decisions.

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who died on Sunday at the age of 82, was both a president and a kingmaker. One of the last surviving veterans of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, he was central in bringing Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to power in 1979 and in naming the current Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as supreme leader exactly 10 years later. Sami Moubayed, a Syrian historian, writes that he was something of a conundrum: economically liberal, politically authoritarian, and philosophically conservative; too liberal to be considered a conservative, too conservative to become a liberal.

What links Houston, in Texas, with China’s so-called New Silk Road? Quite a lot, if you’re Vivienne Tam. The US-based Hong Kong fashion designer shares her inspiration for her 2017 spring-summer collection with David Zhu.