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Another Syrian Boy, Another Photograph

While many of us are immersed in the Olympic drama in Rio or enjoying a summer vacation escape, a photograph from Aleppo has brought a jarring reminder of the horrific war still raging in Syria.


The image shows a dazed five-year-old boy, covered in dust and with an open head wound, sitting in an ambulance after surviving a military attack on a rebel-held area in Aleppo. Syria's second-largest city is living through a months-long siege that the German daily Die Welt recently compared to the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica. Hospitals have been bombed, there have been chemical attacks, and it seems there is no end to Aleppo's suffering in the face of global apathy.


Can a photograph of the most innocent of victims shock the world into action? It was nearly one year ago when the image on the shoreline of the drowned Syrian refugee boy Alan Kurdi shook the public consciousness. While the victim in this latest photograph has survived, he strikes us in a similar way as the image of little Alan: the juxtaposition of something so horrible with the familiar outline of a young child's body. That boy could be anywhere in the world, maybe sitting next to you on the local bus — or on an airplane coming back from summer vacation.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



NORTH KOREA RESUMES PLUTONIUM PRODUCTION

North Korean authorities have confirmed that they had restarted the production of plutonium at their Yongbyon nuclear facilities and said they had no intentions to stop nuclear tests. The U.S. State Department said that, if confirmed, the claims were "obviously a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions."


MASS DEATHS IN SYRIAN PRISONS, SAYS AMNESTY

As many as 17,723 people have died in Syrian prisons since the beginning of the war in March 2011, according to Amnesty International. The gruesome revelations come in a chilling report, based on the accounts of 65 torture survivors, and which describes systematic torture and "inhuman conditions."


— ON THIS DAY

Whether you love love him or not, Mika is turning 33 today…! More in your 57-second shot of History here.


U.S. SWIMMERS STOPPED AT RIO AIRPORT

Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, two U.S. swimmers who say they were robbed at gunpoint in Rio over the weekend, have been barred from leaving Brazil last night because of differences in the accounts of the event, The Washington Postreports. Earlier yesterday, a Brazilian judge also ordered the seizure of passports of two other team members, Ryan Lochte and James Feigen, for "possible divergences" in their versions of the robbery.


$55 MILLION

Haiti, one of the world's poorest countries, will spend $55 million on new presidential and legislative elections after the results of the last vote, held less than a year ago, were scrapped amid reports of fraud.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Rainy Reputation — Brignonan-Plages, 1971


VERBATIM

"I lead a simple and disciplined life," a healthy Hindu monk Swami Sivananda, who claims to be 120 years old, told AFP. Sivananda, who would officially become the world's oldest man ever if the Guinness World Records verifies his claim, says he eats only boiled food without oil or spices. He put his longevity down to three factors: "yoga, discipline, and celibacy."


BOMBINGS IN EASTERN TURKEY

A bombing at a police station in Turkey's eastern province of Elazig killed three people and wounded more than 100 today, coming less than a week after similar attacks in eastern Turkey. Turkish daily Hürriyet reports that authorities blamed the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) for the attacks in the Kurdish-populated regions of the country.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Rowdy Rio crowds are upsetting both athletes and fans. But as Laurent Favre writes for Le Temps, it's a passion born from soccer stadiums, and is what a South American Olympics should look (and sound) like: "Brazilian fans are used to making it very clear who they love, and loathe. Sports is an experience of taking sides, and the Olympics are no exception.

They'll pick the short one over the tall one, the pretty gal (Swiss volleyball player Anouk Vergé-Dépré, who turned out to be very popular) over the plain one, and the smiling guy (Usain Bolt) over the grumpy-looking one. If it is not always obvious who they're rooting for, it is easier to identify who they're rooting against."

Read the full article, Why They Boo: Brazilian Fans Accused Of Bad Olympic Manners.


SOUTH SUDAN OPPOSITION LEADER FLEES COUNTRY

South Sudan's opposition leader and former Vice President Riek Machar left the country today, weeks after his forces withdrew from the capital of Juba following the collapse of a peace deal with his rival, President Salva Kiir.


CALIFORNIA FIRE RAGES ON

More than 1,500 emergency personnel are continuing to battle a wildfire in Southern California that has already charred more than 40 square miles. NBC News reports that tens of thousands have been forced to flee, with one veteran firefighter saying he'd "never seen fire behavior so extreme" in his four decades of service.


MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

BOLIVIA OPENS "ANTI-IMPERIALIST" SCHOOL

Bolivian President Evo Morales inaugurated a new military academy near the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra today, but the school has a peculiar mission: teaching anti-imperialism. According to El Deber, the newly opened "School of Anti-Imperialism" will have 200 students and seeks to teach the dangers of imperialism and counter U.S. policy in the region.

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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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