SPOTLIGHT: WORLD IN PIECES, A LONG WEEKEND
The long and awful weekend began late Thursday night, local time here in France. At the end of the Bastille Day national celebrations, the southern coastal city of Nice turned into yet another scene of unspeakable horror. It is the same sad plot, different script for a country targeted three times in 18 months with major terrorist strikes: this time, a man with a truck targeted families on a day of historically symbolic importance for France. Looking at the toll, it seems all those 20-something victims of the Parisian attacks at bars and the Bataclan concert hall werenâ€™t young enough for those who boast their love expand=1] of death.
It was just 24 hours later when a news alert came in from another country that has also been making headlines lately. The coup dâ€™etat attempt in Turkey was bound to fail, though the reported death toll is high there as well, up to 290 dead in Istanbul and Ankara. For those watching from afar, the instability is particularly troubling in a country that itself has been both a target and a staging ground for ISIS Islamic terrorist group.
Then Sunday, the lead story on our screens had shifted to the southern U.S. city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Again, it was an ugly sequel. Two weeks ago, five police officers had been killed in Dallas by an African-American military veteran angry about police violence aimed at African-Americans back at home. Now, it was three officers dead in Baton Rouge, including (inevitably) one African-American patrolman, killed by another well-armed Marine veteran set on vengeance.
It was a long summer weekend in the darkest kind of way, with Monday looking no brighter.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
U.S. Republican party convention in Cleveland debates rules and procedures, as Donald Trump opponents make last-ditch effort to stop his nomination.
Ruling expected on whether Russian Olympic Athletes will be banned from upcoming Rio Summer Games.
GUNMAN IN BATON ROUGE ACTED ALONE
Police have confirmed that Gavin Long, an honorably discharged marine veteran, was the lone gunman who killed three police officers and wounded another three. According to the Baton Rouge Advocate daily this morning, Long was a resident of Missouri, and had also traveled to Dallas after five police officers were shot there on July 7. The Iraqi War veteran had also posted extremist videos online, but was not affiliated with a specific group. The officers killed have been identified as: Montrell Jackson, 32, Matthew Gerald, 41, and Brad Garafola, 45. All were married with families.
AFTER FAILED COUP, ERDOGAN WANTS DEATH PENALTY BACK
Some 8,000 police have reportedly been dismissed as the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues a purge of opponents following the failed coup over the weekend. Government leaders have also floated the possibility this morning of bringing back the death penalty to Turkey, with European leaders saying that would block any chance of the country joining the European Union.
In the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt, Hurriyet journalist ErtuÄŸrul Özkök penned this piece in Turkish, decrying those plotting to overthrow the democratically elected government. Here is the English-language version.
FRENCH QUESTION SECURITY MEASURES
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls traveled to the Promenade des Anglais, site of Thursday nightâ€™s truck attack that killed at least 84, for a nationwide moment of silence at noon local time today. But Valls was met with boos and whistles, and shouts of â€œkillers!â€ and â€œresign!â€ as France continues to ask why it cannot stop the onslaught of attacks. Here is French terror expert Arnaud Danjean on the twin perils of fatalism and naivety in the face of these attacks.
MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
Montbéliard, France â€" July 1964
â€œDesperate actions of an enemy that sees the noose closing around them.â€ Thatâ€™s how U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry characterized the terrorist group ISIS during a CNN interview yesterday.
â€" ON THIS DAY
A British tycoon, a Romanian gymnast and more made history on January 18 in years past, see more in our 57-second video shot of history.
OLYMPIC FLAME THROWERS
A man armed expand=1] with a fire extinguisher tried to douse out the Olympic flame as it passed through Joinville, Brazil on its way to Rio de Janeiro for the August 5 opening ceremonies, O Globo daily reports. The flame survived a previous attempt when a man threw a bucket of water at the flame, but missed and splashed security guards instead.
For those aiming to serve the Islamic Republic of Iran as experts to train the public morality agents, there are now courses to obtain the "proper" training.
Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.
Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.
The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.
The traffic police chief recently said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes
New academic discipline
Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.
Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."
Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.
Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.
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