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Airport Siege Ends, Person Of The Year, Orangutan Giggles

Airport Siege Ends, Person Of The Year, Orangutan Giggles


Afghan forces have broken the Taliban siege on the Kandahar airport more than 24 hours after the attack began, AP quotes the country's Defense Ministry as saying. The assailants killed at least 50 people, among them 38 civilians, 10 Afghan soldiers and two police officers. The 11 gunmen who carried out the attack were killed in the operation that ended late yesterday. The attack on the airport, which serves as a NATO base, came amid regional peace talks in Pakistan meant to restart negotiations with the Taliban that broke off earlier this year.


"I can't talk much because after midnight I'll turn into a pumpkin," outgoing Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner told a crowd gathered in Buenos Aires last night, hours before her mandate came to an end. The joke was intended as a jibe at her successor, political opponent Mauricio Macri, with whom she openly bickered for days over the leadership transition procedure, an episode that many Argentinians viewed as a national embarrassment, AP reports.


North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un suggested for the first time that Pyongyang had developed a hydrogen bomb, a thermonuclear device much more powerful than the atomic bomb, Yonhap reports. His comments were made during a recent inspection tour of a historical military site, but the claims are likely to be impossible to verify, and experts don't seem to believe it.


The very essence of intelligence is that it's human, and it can never be recreated by something artificial, Luc de Brabandere writes for Les Echos. "If it became artificial, it would mean that we'd have given up on using our own. But the topic is raised again and again in the media. As soon as a computer defeats a human being at one game or another, the myth that artificial intelligence will become part of our lives is resurrected."

Read the full article, Why Artificial Intelligence Is Simply Impossible.


Photo: Halit Onur Sandal/NurPhoto/ZUMA

The number of refugees who have registered in Germany this year has officially reached 1 million, with more than 200,000 reaching the country in November alone, news agency DPA reports. The news came as TIME magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel its Person of the Year for her moral leadership amid the refugee crisis, "the most generous, open-hearted gesture of recent history." But not everybody in Germany is proud about the magazine's choice, with Deutsche Welle's Felix Steiner reminding readers that TIME chose Adolf Hitler in 1938 and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is this year's runner-up. Quoting TIME"s praise for Merkel's "humanity, generosity and tolerance," Steiner asks, "Would Greek pensioners and unemployed sign off on that statement?"


Canada is getting ready to receive the first charter flight of the 25,000 Syrian refugees it has pledged to resettle by the end of February. Go to our Le Blog item here to see how Canadian daily the Toronto Star has chosen to greet them on the front page of its Thursday edition.


Nobel Prizes, Mark Twain and Otis Redding. All that and more in today's 57-second shot of history.


Police officers in Sydney, Australia, have arrested two young men, aged 15 and 20, accused of planning a terror attack there with three other people who have already been detained and charged, The Sydney Morning Heraldreports. New South Wales Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said that it was "disturbing" that someone as young as 15 was involved in terrorism and that those arrested face life sentences if found guilty. The arrests come almost a year after a hostage crisis in Sydney, which ended with the deaths of two hostages and of the gunman, who had claimed to be a member of ISIS.



Italy is paying 1 million euros ($1.1 million) a month for a luxurious jet intended to fly Prime Minister Matteo Renzi around the world. Worse, it is grounded because no Italian Air Force pilot is qualified to fly it. Read more from The Local.


The first puppies born via in-vitro fertilization were born in July and are now five months old and healthy, U.S. scientists said yesterday. They hailed the success, after 45 years of failure, as a breakthrough that could help eradicate diseases in dogs and eventually humans. Read more from CNN.


A simple magic trick made this orangutan literally roll on the floor laughing.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Black Sea Survivor: Tale Of A Ukrainian Special Agent Thrown Overboard In Enemy Waters

This is a tale of a Ukrainian special forces operator who wound up surviving 14 hours at sea, staying afloat and dodging Russian air and sea patrols.

Black Sea Survivor: Tale Of A Ukrainian Special Agent Thrown Overboard In Enemy Waters

Looking at the Black Sea in Odessa, Ukraine.

Rustem Khalilov and Roksana Kasumova

KYIV — During a covert operation in the Black Sea, a Ukrainian special agent was thrown overboard and spent the next 14 hours alone at sea, surrounded by enemy forces.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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The agent, who uses the call-sign "Conan," agreed to speak to Ukrainska Pravda, to share the details of nearly being lost forever at sea. He also shared some background on how he arrived in the Ukrainian special forces. Having grown up in a village in a rural territory of Ukraine, Conan describes himself as "a simple guy."

He'd worked in law enforcement, personal security and had a job as a fitness trainer when Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. That's when he signed up with the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Main Directorate of Intelligence "Artan" battalion. It was nearly 18 months into his service, when Conan faced the most harrowing experience of the war. Here's his first-hand account:

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