A SYRIAN TRUCE, ISIS EXCLUDED
The Syrian government and the umbrella group for the main opposition agreed this morning to the terms of a ceasefire that was negotiated yesterday between the United States and Russia, the BBC reports. But the truce, set to begin midday Saturday, excludes ISIS, al-Qaeda and affiliated groups, Al Jazeera reports. President Bashar al-Assad's regime said it would halt "combat operations" in accordance with the plan. But opposition forces said their acceptance depended on government forces ending sieges and airstrikes on civilians. The major opposition bloc involved in negotiations said in a statement that it "does not expect the Assad regime, Russia and Iran to cease hostilities, due to their realization that the regime's survival depends on the continuation of its campaign of oppression, killing and forced displacement."
Oceans are rising faster than they ever have in the past 2,800 years, a report published yesterday by the American journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says. "We can say with 95% probability that the 20th-century rise was faster than any of the previous 27 centuries," explained climate scientist Bon Kopp, who led the research. The rising waters are expected to worsen still in coming years, especially in coastal towns.
FIJI CYCLONE KILLS 29
At least 29 people were killed over the weekend in Fiji, where cyclone Winston was described as the worst storm ever to hit the South Pacific archipelago, The Fiji Times reports. About 8,500 people are still being sheltered in evacuation centers after thousands of homes were flattened by winds of over 320 km/h (200 mph). According to Radio New Zealand, international relief supplies have started arriving in the country, which is comprised of more than 330 islands.
WATER PARTIALLY RETURNS TO DELHI
Photo: Stringer/Xinhua via ZUMA
Indian authorities have partially restored water supplies to India's capital Delhi after as many as 10 million people were affected by shortages caused by protesters. Angry at caste job quotas, demonstrators sabotaged a canal that delivers water to treatment plants, the BBC reports. The eight-day protests left 19 people dead at at least 183 injured, The Indian Express reports.
French daily Libération's front page reads, "Calais: An Endless Jungle," ahead of today's 8 p.m. deadline for asylum seekers living in the sprawling and controversial migrant camp to clear out so that French authorities can dismantle it. Read more about it on Le Blog here.
"Business needs unrestricted access to the European market of 500 million people in order to continue to grow, invest and create jobs," reads a letter signed by some 200 British business leaders, including 36 executives of FTSE 100 companies, The Times reports. Referring to a possible British exit from the European Union — which has gained momentum in the past few days with popular London Mayor Boris Johnson now publicly supporting an EU exit — the chief executives warned that "leaving the EU would deter investment, threaten jobs and put the economy at risk. Britain will be stronger, safer and better off remaining a member of the EU."
ONE DIES IN DUTCH TRAIN DERAILMENT
At least one person was killed and 10 were injured when a passenger train derailed near the Dutch town of Dalfsen this morning, according to the daily De Telegraaf. The train reportedly hit a crane on a crossing before going into a field. Witnesses say the person killed could be the train driver.
In the area around the Congolese capital of Brazzaville, it's common practice to burn vegetation in fields before planting crops. But this slash-and-burn approach inflicts severe damage to the forests and the soil, not to mention to the health of women, who are the primary farmers in this area, Kouamba Matonda Annette reports for Syfia. "Much of the harm could be avoided with the use of an organic fertilizer called moringa, a plant native to these parts of Africa that has many beneficial properties."
Read the full article, Congo Farming: Eco-Friendly Fertilizer v. Slash-And-Burn.
CRUZ FIRES TOP AIDE OVER FALSE VIDEO
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz fired campaign spokesman Rick Tyler yesterday after Tyler shared an inaccurate Facebook video of rival Marco Rubio "appearing to disparage the Bible," as The Washington Post reports.
ON THIS DAY
César Ritz, "king of hoteliers, and hotelier to kings," would have been 166 years old today. That and much more, including a watershed moment in World War II history, in your 57-second shot of history.
BILL GATES BACKS FBI'S APPLE REQUEST
Microsoft's Bill Gates believes Apple should comply with the FBI's request to unlock the iPhone used by one of the two San Bernardino terrorists without triggering the destruction of data stored on the device, the Financial Times reports. "This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information," Gates said. "They are not asking for some general thing. They are asking for a particular case." Apple has so far refused, casting it as a civil liberties issue.
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
GREEK POLICE REMOVE MIGRANTS FROM CAMP
Greek police began removing migrants from the Greek-Macedonian border this morning after more passage restrictions imposed by Macedonian authorities left hundreds stranded, Reuters reports.
AN EXPENSIVE BELCH
Austrian bartender Edin Mehic was recently fined 70 euros for burping too loud at a fun park in Vienna. The ticket, which he posted on Facebook, says he "violated public decency." Mehic explained he had just eaten a kebab with "too many onions."