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American Mysteries, Baseball To Politics

The reach of American power, of both the hard and soft varieties, seems to know no limits. People across the planet are affected in real ways by what happens in the United States — from which movies get made in Hollywood to how Facebook builds its algorithms to who earns the keys to the White House.

For better or worse, it can all make the political/economic/cultural superpower seem quite familiar, even for those who have never set foot on U.S. soil. But then, there's baseball. Save a few exceptions, like in Japan or the Dominican Republic, the sport appears to the rest of the world as a mysterious (and interminable) spectacle of Byzantine rules, lots of standing around and a ridiculous choice of mascots.

But for Americans, the "national pastime" endures, a comforting reminder that certain customs still resist the forces of globalization. Tonight features the final game of the (interminable) season, as the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians face off in the decisive Game 7 of the World Series. The stakes are particularly high this year because the Indians haven't won a championship since 1948, and the Cubs haven't won one since … 1908!

Indeed, Hollywood movie buffs around the world may remember that the Back To The Future trilogy had "predicted" the Cubs would finally win the World Series 30 years later, in 2015. Well, almost? They may also remember the cinematic time-travel script winking at then President Ronald Reagan, with one character from the 1950s unable to fathom that the second-rate actor would wind up in the White House.

That, it seems, brings us to this year's race for the presidency, as the world keeps asking: And who wrote this script?



The 2016 White House campaign enters its last week and the outcome is growing more uncertain by the day, with Donald Trump now leading in the Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll. The FBI release of its 2001 investigation into Bill Clinton's pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich yesterday has further angered Hillary Clinton's campaign. For The Hill, "the daily spring of leaks coming out of the FBI has made it appear that the law enforcement agency is at war with itself."


The stakes involved in the battle to liberate Mosul from ISIS could be even higher than previously thought with The Independent quoting a senior Kurdish source as saying that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, is believed to be hiding in the city. "Baghdadi is there and, if he is killed, it will mean the collapse of the whole ISIS system," said Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to the president of the Iraqi Kurdish region, Masoud Barzani. The revelation, which the newspaper says may complicate the battle, comes one day after Iraqi forces entered the outskirts of the city for the first time in two years.


Eighty-six years ago, Haile Selassie was crowned emperor of Ethiopia. That, and more, in today's 57-second shot of history.


French authorities have begun the evacuation of some 1,500 unaccompanied minors from a temporary center near the so-called "Jungle" in the French city of Calais this morning. Local newspaper La Voix du Nord reports that two buses left early this morning with some 40 minors, transporting them to receptions centers across France.


The number of cancer deaths among women is expected to rise by close to 60% to 5.5 million by 2030, two recent studies warn. The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is expected to double.


Paolo Ciancaglioni awoke to Italy's Aug. 24 earthquake at his family summer home in Retrosi, a hamlet of Amatrice. He and his wife managed to escape unharmed from the quake, which would end up killing 297 people. His house was damaged, but not destroyed. This is Ciancaglioni's story, written by Cynthia Martens for Worldcrunch's Rue Amelot essay section: "When the noise started, sometime after 3:30 in the morning, my wife, Daniela, and I were asleep in bed. It was like the thunder you might hear during a big storm at night, that savage booming that makes you feel small and vulnerable because you can't tell where it's coming from. The room was rocking, and in the darkness I heard bits of stone dislodging from the rattling wall and falling to the floor. Rhythmic thumps pounded from above: the sound of pieces of rock thudding on the roof. I thought, ‘The ceiling is going to cave in on us.'"

Read the full essay, Italy, Earthquake Cracks Open A Lifetime Gone By.


President Park Geun-hye named a new prime minister and finance minister as a cronyism scandal widens, with prosecutors requesting an arrest warrant against one of Park's close friends. More details about the situation in South Korea from The Guardian.


Scandalous Building — Washington, D.C., 1990


The 33 miners who were trapped in a coal mine in southwestern China after a gas explosion were all confirmed dead by rescuers, who retrieved their bodies early this morning, Xinhua reports. Only two miners made it out alive.


The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which went missing with 239 people on board in March 2014, was in a rapid and uncontrolled descent when it crashed into the Indian Ocean, a report by Australian investigators has found. This suggests that no one was in control of the plane when it crashed. Read more from ABC.


The opposition-led parliament of Venezuela has delayed a symbolic hearing of President Nicolas Maduro in a bid to ease the ongoing political crisis, amid Vatican-mediated talks. The opposition also cancelled nationwide protests initially planned for tomorrow.



Katrina Bookman thought she'd won the largest slot machine jackpot in U.S. history when the machine displayed $42,949,672 winnings. But the casino says it was a machine malfunction and offered her a steak dinner instead.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

War, Corruption And The Overdue Demise Of Ukrainian Oligarchs

The invasion of Russia has forced Ukraine to confront a domestic enemy: corruption and economic control by an insular and unethical elite.

Photograph of three masked demonstrators holding black smoke lights.

May 21, 2021, Ukraine: Demonstrators hold smoke bombs outside the Appeal Court of Kyiv.

Olena Khudiakova/ZUMA
Guillaume Ptak


KYIV — Since Russia’s invasion, Ukraine's all-powerful oligarchs have lost a significant chunk of their wealth and political influence. However, the fight against the corruption that plagues the country is only just beginning.

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

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On the morning of September 2, several men wearing balaclavas and bullet-proof waistcoats bearing the initials "SBU" arrived at the door of an opulent mansion in Dnipro, Ukraine's fourth largest city. Facing them, his countenance frowning behind thin-rimmed glasses, was the owner of the house, the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

Officers from the Ukrainian security services had come to hand him a "suspicion notice" as part of an investigation into "fraud" and "money laundering". His home was searched, and shortly afterwards he was remanded in custody, with bail set at 509 million hryvnias, or more than €1.3 million. A photo of the operation published that very morning by the security services was widely shared on social networks and then picked up by various media outlets.

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