​Iran Deal, Greek Doubts, Part-Time Prince

The chief negotiators in Vienna on Tuesday
The chief negotiators in Vienna on Tuesday


After years of on-again, off-again negotiations, Iran and six world powers agreed Tuesday to a deal to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for an end to crippling economic sanctions. Together with five negotiating partners, Russia, China, France, UK and Germany, American diplomats had demanded a framework of inspections to ensure that Iran would not have the capacity to recommence its pursuit of nuclear arms. There are provisions that allow for Tehran to continue a civilian nuclear program.

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the deal “historic,” conceding that it “isn’t perfect for anyone,” but offers all parties the assurances they need. Chief European negotiator Federica Mogherini called the accord a “sign of hope for the entire world,” BBC reports.
  • A senior Western negotiator told The New York Times that “ all of the main outstanding issues had been resolved, including the thorny question of how many years an embargo on conventional arms shipments into and out of Iran would remain in place.” The Times notes that the deal, which still needs approval from a skeptical U.S. Congress, would be the signature diplomatic achievement for both Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama.
  • Sources tell Le Monde that a continued ban on Iranian import on ballistic missiles and other conventional weapons is key to the larger objective of ensuring no nuclear weapons are being produced, as inspectors need “fewer eyes on less material in fewer locations.”
  • Iranian daily the Tehran Times wrote, “The deal marks a milestone in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has openly clashed with Washington over the negotiations, called the deal a “bad mistake of historic proportions,” Haaretz reports.


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is busy trying to gather support for this week’s bailout deal with Eurozone members and Greece’s other creditors, even as members of his own Syriza party have openly denounced the accord ahead of a Wednesday vote in Parliament. Greek daily Ekathimerini reports that Tsipras is struggling to cling to his government's majority â€" turning to support from the opposition as well â€" after accepting a deal that fails to abide by election promises and includes tough new austerity measures in exchange for the bailout. Greeks rallied Monday night outside Parliament in Athens, urging lawmakers to reject the new demands. Analysts estimate at least 30 out of Syriza’s 149 lawmakers are likely to vote against the government. There was some satisfaction and plenty of displeasure elsewhere in Europe over the deal, while global stock markets appear to be settling after Monday’s rally in the wake of the 11th hour deal. As all eyes shift to the Greek Parliament, read a profile of arguably the most important person in Europe right now you may have never heard of.


Jane Goodall landed in Tanzania and French citizens stormed the Bastille. Check out four nibblets of the past in today’s 57-second shot of history.


A stampede at a religious festival in southern India early Tuesday has killed and injured dozens of worshipers seeking to bathe in the holy waters of the Godavari river. The death toll is at 27, and expected to rise. The Times of India reports that the stampede broke out two hours after the start of the Maha Pushkaralu festival some people allegedly scaled a wall to enter one of the bathing ghats.



More men than ever do housework and care for kids. But when comparing household behavior of top male and female executives, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports on a German study that shows stark differences that remain between the sexes. “Women in executive roles, for example, very rarely have children who are younger than 3 years old. Only 12% of women in the survey did. But a quarter of all men in executive roles had children below that age. "This indicates that many men in executive roles have another person, often their partner, waiting in the wings, who manages their private life for them," the study concludes. "Such support for women through their partner does not seem to be the case." Read the full article, Surprise, Surprise: Women Executives Still Stuck With Housework.


Britain’s Prince William apparently shares some of the same challenges as other modern men: balancing work, family and expectations from the outside world. The Independent daily reports that the future King of England is considering working full-time as an ambulance pilot, putting his official royal duties in the backseat as he also tries to make time to be father to Prince George and Princess Charlotte.


The dwarf planet has sent a love note back to Earth via NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, which has travelled more than 9 years and more than 3 billion miles. Pluto’s bright, mysterious “heart” is rotating into view â€" check it out on NASA’s website here.

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Running of the Bulls in Tafalla, northern Spain

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Здравейте!*

Welcome to Monday, where an apparent coup is underway in Sudan, Colombia's most-wanted drug lord gets caught, and Michael Jordan's rookie sneakers score an auction record. We also focus on a report that the Thai government is abusing the country's centuries-old law to protect the monarchy from criticism (lèse-majesté) to target pro-democracy activists and protesters.

[*Zdraveite - Bulgarian]


• Developing: Sudan leaders arrested amid military coup reports: Soldiers have arrested several members of Sudan's transitional government as well as civilian leaders, and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has reportedly been put under house arrest, in what the information ministry called a military coup. Pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets of the capital city Khartoum where there are reports of gunfire and clashes.

• Colombia's most wanted drug lord to be sent to U.S.: Colombia's most dangerous drug trafficker, known as Otoniel, was caught after a joint army, air force and police operation and faces extradition to the U.S. He led the country's largest criminal gang, and was on the U.S. most wanted list for years.

• Xi speech marks China's UN anniversary: China's President Xi Jinping marked the 50th anniversary of Beijing's entry into the United Nations with a speech calling for greater global cooperation, adding that issues like climate change, terrorism and cyber security needed multilateral solutions. Taiwan was not mentioned.

• German ISIS bride jailed for crimes against humanity: A German court has sentenced a German woman and former member of the Islamic State to 10 years in prison for letting a 5-year-old Yazidi enslaved girl die of thirst in Iraq. The case is one of the world's first trials to prosecute a war crime against the Yazidis.

• COVID update: The Beijing marathon scheduled next weekend has been postponed until further notice as China seeks to stamp out Delta variant outbreak and return to zero cases ahead of the Winter Olympics next February. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Eastern Europe have surpassed the 20 million mark as the region fights against its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and vaccination efforts lag.

Goodbye, Gunther: U.S. actor James Michael Tyler, best known for his role as the barista Gunther on the TV show Friends, has died at 59 of prostate cancer.

• Sneakers record: A pair of Michael Jordan's white-and-red Nike shoes, which he wore during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, sold for $1.47 million — a new record price for sneakers at auction.


"The end of a boss," titles Colombian daily El Espectador, reporting on the arrest of drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, who had led Colombia's largest criminal gang and had been on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's most wanted list for years. He was captured in a raid and will be extradited to the U.S.



A Georgia man is being prosecuted for wire fraud after spending most of his business's COVID relief loan to buy one Pokémon trading card for $57,789.


How Thailand's "Lèse-Majesté" law is used to stifle all protest

Once meant to protect the royal family, the century-old law has become a tool for the military-led government in Bangkok to stamp out all dissent. A new report outlines the abuses.

👑 Thailand's Criminal Code "Lèse-Majesté" Article 112 imposes jail terms for defaming, insulting, or threatening the monarchy, with sentences of three to 15 years. This law has been present in Thai politics since 1908, though applied sparingly, only when direct verbal or written attacks against members of the royal family. But after the May 2014 military coup d'état, Thailand experienced the first wave of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions of at least 127 individuals arrested in a much wider interpretation of the law.

🚨 The recent report "Second Wave: The Return of Lèse-Majesté in Thailand," documents how the Thai government has "used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations." The investigation shows 124 individuals, including at least eight minors, have been charged with lèse-majesté between November 2020 and August 2021. The new wave of charges is cited as a response to the rising pro-democracy protests across Thailand over the past year.

💻 The more than a century-old law is now largely playing out online, where much of today's protest takes place in Thailand. Thai student activist Juthatip Sirikan says people are willing to go further on social media to expose information such as how the king intervenes in politics and the monarchy's accumulation of wealth, information the mainstream media rarely reports on them. Not surprisingly, however, social media is heavily monitored and the military is involved in Intelligence operations and cyber attacks against human rights defenders and critics of any kind.

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"Children are going to die. People are going to starve."

— The United Nations warns that Afghanistan verges on a "total breakdown" as millions of Afghans, including children, could die of starvation unless urgent action is taken by the international community. The agency calls for the release of frozen assets to avoid economic and social collapse, despite concerns over the Taliban government. A recent report said that about 97% of Afghanistan's population may sink below the poverty line, and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley warned that more than half of Afghanistan's population of 39 million were facing acute food insecurity and "marching to starvation" in comparison to 14 million two months ago.


Dutch cities have been secretly probing mosques since 2013

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talked to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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