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Issue 6/ Spring 2024

The sixth print edition showcases the New Lines ethos through a varied collection of essays with unique angles on unexplored, globally significant stories. This includes a report on the commercialization of women’s eggs in the U.S. and ethical concerns surrounding selective beauty standards, and an investigation into the controversial international career of Canadian lawyer Jay Park, “the Oil Kingmaker.” We visit Syria’s al-Hawl camp, highlighting the plight of thousands of vulnerable children living amid the remnants of the Islamic State. In Saudi Arabia, archeology is overturning our ideas about the Stone Age and furthering the kingdom’s new drive toward cultural tourism. Meanwhile, in Malaysia, citizen-led initiatives are bypassing the government to combat plastic pollution in the Klang River. This issue also revisits a chilling 1954 matricide in New Zealand, exploring themes of guilt and redemption. We hope you’ll enjoy this selection of stories from around the world.

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Because You’re Worth It: How the US Egg Donation Industry Monetizes Beauty

New Lines interviewed dozens of egg donors, intended parents and fertility agencies, piecing together a picture of an industry that trades in the commodification of women and human genetic material, raising serious ethical questions about how the worth of a person should be measured.

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The Normalization of Italy’s Giorgia Meloni

If Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s New Year’s resolution in January 2023 was to gain international acceptance, then she has succeeded. Love her or loathe her, the perception of her as an unreliable firebrand with neo-fascist sympathies has changed. But her authoritarian style of governance remains a danger.

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The Oil Kingmaker

Across more than 20 years and dozens of countries, one Canadian lawyer helped draft oil laws in some of the world’s most lucrative petrochemical nations. Documents uncovered in a New Lines investigation show that he also advises businesses, including ones in which he holds interests, on how to profit from those laws.

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How a 19th-Century Scot’s Harebrained Quest Shaped Sovereignty in Western Sahara

In the 1870s, Donald Mackenzie envisioned digging a maritime channel through the Sahara from the Atlantic to Timbuktu, opening new trade routes. His pipe dream, and his legacy, would define and sometimes foment the battle over control of Western Sahara for generations to come.

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After Surviving Soviet Repression, a Turkic Minority Is Being Divided in Ukraine

Meskhetian Turks are caught in the crossfire of the war in Ukraine, forced to fight — and die — on both sides of a conflict many do not consider their own. Thousands have fled in the latest mass relocation of this persecuted people, who have spent much of the past century uprooted.

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Local Communities Are Leading the Rehabilitation of a Malaysian River

In Kuala Lumpur and its environs, many berate the public for lacking commitment to sustainability and tolerating river pollution. Yet people’s apathy feeds on a belief that the government doesn’t work for the common good or for the country, leading to mistrust and inaction.

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A Rare Distraction for Youngsters at a Syrian Camp Spotlights a Precarious Existence

Al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria is home to 31,000 children, most of whom have — or had — parents who fought with the Islamic State group. A visit by a clown troupe offered a moment of color, but also raised the question of what future the world envisions for these young people.

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In Saudi Arabia, Ancient Desert Walls Are Rewriting the Stone Age

Humans in Stone Age Arabia left monumental structures behind to honor their deities and their dead, along with abundant rock art. The extent and regularity of their art and architectural styles show that this was no isolated society, but a shared culture that spanned an improbable 116,000 square miles, unheard of in any other archaeological site of the same period, and long before any of the societies that gave rise to the Abrahamic faiths. Result after result from the Saudi deserts is transforming how we think about our prehistoric ancestors.

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