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"Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic." —Pico Iyer A brilliant, fierce writer makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world. As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars. In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within. Lands of Lost Borders is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here. Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.
For all the desert's dreamlike beauty, to travel here was not just to pitch yourself into oblivion: it was to grind away at yourself until nothing was left. It was to aspire to the condition of sand. One third of the earth's land surface is desert, much of it desolate and inhospitable. What is it about this harsh environment that has captivated humankind throughout history? From the prophets of the Bible to Marco Polo, Lawrence of Arabia to Gertrude Bell, travellers have often seen deserts as cursed places to be avoided, or crossed as quickly as possible. But for those whose call deserts home, the 'hideous blanks' described by explorers are rich in resources and significance. Travelling to five continents over three years, visiting deserts both iconic and little-known, William Atkins discovers a realm that is as much internal as physical. His journey takes him to the Arabian Peninsula's Empty Quarter and Australia's nuclear-test grounds; the dry Aral Sea of Kazakhstan and 'sand seas' of China's volatile north-west; the contested borderlands of Arizona and the riotous Burning Man festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert; and the ancient monasteries of Egypt's Eastern Desert. Along the way, Atkins illuminates the people, history, topography, and symbolism of these remarkable but often troubled places. Reviving the illustrious British tradition of travel writing, The Immeasurable World is destined to become a classic of desert literature.
Since its announcement in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also known as the New Silk Road, has gradually gained international recognition. The project requires not only extensive investment in infrastructure and transportation but also an acceleration of the internationalization of multinationals and supply chains in Belt and Road countries. The project will, hopefully, lead governments and businesses in countries along the Belt and Road to compete, adopt best practices and improve transparency. The BRI marks a national push by China to increase economic links to Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Russia, the Baltic region (Central and Eastern Europe), Africa and Latin America, which will have major consequences for the way that tax systems interact. Emerging from the research conducted by the WU Global Tax Policy Center in cooperation with several Chinese universities, this book offers fourteen policy-relevant research papers prepared by international experts on the following issues: • The New Silk Road: Will Tax Be a Facilitator or a Barrier? • Neo-BEPS: China’s Prescription for International Tax Reform Embodying the Rationality of the Belt & Road Initiative; • International Taxation Coordination under China’s Belt and Road Strategy; • Tax Issues in the Main Belt and Road Countries and Industries of China’s Outward Foreign Direct Investment; • Preferential Arrangements under Chinese Tax Treaties with Belt and Road Countries and Disputes Regarding Their Applicability; • Tax Planning by Going-Global Enterprises for Cross-Border Earnings: Observations Based on Belt and Road Countries; • International Taxation Issues under the Belt and Road Initiative: Corporate Income Tax Laws and Tax Treaties; • Financial and Tax Operations in the Five Central Asian Countries; • The Role of Border-Crossing Procedures in the Transportation of Goods along the New Silk Road; • Transfer Pricing Issues Related to the Belt and Road Initiative; • Tax Treaties between Belt and Road Countries; • VAT Challenges in the Belt and Road Initiative; • Global Tax Policy Post-BEPS and the Perils of the Silk Road; and • Creating a Positive Tax Climate for Complex Multijurisdictional Investment Projects. Outcomes presented in the book consist of findings presented during Tax Policy Forum on the Belt and Road Initiative held on 12–13 June 2017 in Beijing, jointly organized with Peking University Tax Law Center and the Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing. These papers also formed the basis for input by WU Global Tax Policy Center at the first meeting of The Belt and Road Initiative Tax Cooperation Conference (BRITCC) held in Astana on 14–16 May 2018, in which it was agreed to establish a permanent forum to examine the tax issues that arise from the BRI. The WU Global Tax Policy Center will continue to provide inputs to this forum.
From endless sand dunes and prickly cacti to shimmering mirages and green oases, deserts evoke contradictory images in us. They are lands of desolation, but also of romance, of blistering Mojave heat and biting Gobi cold. Covering a quarter of the earth’s land mass and providing a home to half a billion people, they are both a physical reality and landscapes of the mind. The idea of the desert has long captured Western imagination, put on display in films and literature, but these portrayals often fail to capture the true scope and diversity of the people living there. Bridging the scientific and cultural gaps between perception and reality, The Desert celebrates our fascination with these arid lands and their inhabitants, as well as their importance both throughout history and in the world today. Covering an immense geographical range, Michael Welland wanders from the Sahara to the Atacama, depicting the often bizarre adaptations of plants and animals to these hostile environments. He also looks at these seemingly infertile landscapes in the context of their place in history—as the birthplaces not only of critical evolutionary adaptations, civilizations, and social progress, but also of ideologies. Telling the stories of the diverse peoples who call the desert home, he describes how people have survived there, their contributions to agricultural development, and their emphasis on water and its scarcity. He also delves into the allure of deserts and how they have been used in literature and film and their influence on fashion, art, and architecture. As Welland reveals, deserts may be difficult to define, but they play an active role in the evolution of our global climate and society at large, and their future is of the utmost importance. Entertaining, informative, and surprising, The Desert is an intriguing new look at these seemingly harsh and inhospitable landscapes.
Having learned Mandarin, and travelling alone by foot, bicycle and train, Colin Thubron set off on a 10,000 mile journey from Beijing to the borders of Burma. He travelled through the wind-swept wastes of the Gobi desert and finished at the far end of the Great Wall. What Thubron reveals is an astonishing diversity, a land whose still unmeasured resources strain to meet an awesome demand, and an ancient people still reeling from the devastation of the Cultural Revolution.

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