SPOTLIGHT: WHY ORLANDO IS DIFFERENT
After every horrific attack on the innocent, the press and public take stock of what has been wrought by turning to the past. And so it is with the cold-blooded killing of 50 people early Sunday in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. We recall mass shootings in places like Columbine, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook, and indeed the toll in Florida has surpassed them all as the deadliest such use of firearms in U.S. history. Reports that the shooter, Omar Mateen, had links to Islamic terrorists takes our thoughts not only to the Sept. 11 and San Bernardino attacks on American soil but also the targeting of civilians by ISIS and other groups nearly every day in the Middle East and Africa. Orlando, likewise, traces a straight line back to this past Nov. 13 in Paris, where young people's lives were cut short for simply trying to enjoy a weekend evening with friends in some restaurant or concert hall.
But Sunday's horror is bound to be forever tied to another place, called Stonewall. That's the name of a New York City gay bar that became the symbol for the burgeoning gay rights movement in the U.S. and beyond, after it was raided by police in 1969. The nightclub targeted Sunday, Pulse, also catered to the LGBT crowd; and no doubt when the identities of the victims are ultimately determined, it will be the highest death toll of an attack on gay, lesbian and transgender Americans ever.
In a better world than the one we have now, such an act might actually serve to unite very different kinds of people in defense of the sanctity of any and every life. Instead, chillingly, it appears to already be uniting those who would otherwise be enemies in their shared hate. Much has been made of how far LGBT rights have come in the past few years. Sadly, hatred and ignorance — and violence — are keeping pace.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Oscar Pistorius returns to court for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp.
- Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off in San Francisco. Here's what to expect.
- Goldman Sachs vs. Libya's sovereign fund trial opens in London's High Court.
- Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to meet Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon.
THE FIGHT FOR SIRTE
ISIS militants carried out three suicide car bombings in the Libyan city of Sirte, as the Libyan unity government's forces continue to fight jihadists to retake control of the city. Libyan forces had made gains over the weekend, after intense fighting, CNN reports.
PHILIPPINES ISIS-AFFILIATES EXECUTE CANADIAN HOSTAGE
Abu Sayyaf, a jihadist group in the Philippines that has sworn allegiance to ISIS, executed a Canadian hostage, Robert Hall, after the deadline passed for a multi-million dollar ransom, The Inquirer reports.
FRANCE BANS ALCOHOL AMID EURO 2016 VIOLENCE
France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has issued a ban of sales of alcohol around stadiums and fan zones after the violence that marred the first weekend of the Euro 2016.
- English and Russian hooligans clashed in the city of Marseille before and after the Saturday evening game, with locals also taking part in the violence and sometimes even provoking them, according to Le Figaro. The UEFA has warned both countries that they could be expelled from the competition in case of more violence.
- A French prosecutor announced this morning that six Britons, one Austrian and three Frenchmen will be tried today for their role in the events. He added that police had failed to arrest any of the 150 Russian hooligans, who were "extremely well-trained."
- In Nice, a Northern Ireland fan died after an 8-meter fall.
— ON THIS DAY
"No one is interested in increased trade wars," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a speech to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing yesterday, in reference to Chinese steel dumping. Read more in English from Deutsche Welle.
A mystery bidder is giving close to $3.5 million to charity to have dinner with Warren Buffett. The annual auction has raised $23 million since it began in 2000.
For centuries, Grasse in southeastern France has been a flower-growing hub for the fragrance industry. Though regular business from luxury titans has been a lifeline for local farmers, they're finding it hard to survive in the globalized market. For Le Monde, Nicole Vulser stops and smells the roses: "At the beginning of the last century, the fields stretched as far as the eye could see between the Esterel Mountains and the sea; but now, there's almost nothing left. Intense land speculation took its toll, and housing developments eventually replaced the flowers. ... The flower-growing profession has been killed off by the massive offshoring of floriculture to countries with low-cost labor such as Bulgaria, Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and India, and by the arrival of synthetic ingredients in the perfume industry. And yet, in this industry that seemed to be dying, new floral career interests are blossoming."
Read the full article, Flower Farmers Hope France Keeps Its Nose For Perfume.
ITALY RESCUES HUNDREDS OF MIGRANTS
Italian coastguards picked up 1,230 migrants in nine rescue operations yesterday in the waters between Sicily and North Africa. At least one person was found dead. A total of more than 4,000 migrants have reached Italy's shores in the past five days.
IRAN & "TEMPORARY MARRIAGES"
In Iran, people are experimenting more with Western-style affairs of the heart, in other words — "shacking up" rather than rushing into marriage. Read more about it on Le Blog.
ISRAEL LIFTS WEST BANK TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Israel lifted a West Bank closure implemented after last week's shooting in Tel Aviv and eased restrictions on the hometown of the two gunmen who killed four people, The Times of Israel reports.
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Hard To Process — Ronda, 1968
Hamilton, a musical about the life of American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, had a historic night at the Tony Awards, with 11 wins — just one trophy shy of the record held by The Producers from 2001.
— MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Nagorno-Karabakh, A 25-Year Border War Reignites With Religion — La Stampa
- The Limits Of China's First Anti-Domestic Violence Law — KBR
- The Rush Of Capitalism Defies Eternal Concepts Of Time — Clarin
CAMBODIAN LOST CITIES
What if Cambodia was the world's biggest empire during the European "Middle Ages"? The incredible discovery of large cities hidden beneath the Cambodian jungle suggests that might have been just the case.