WHILE YOU SLEPT

“Gliding” MH370, Texas Handguns, Pope Potato

SPOTLIGHT: ERDOGAN’S PURGE SPARKS RALLIES ABROAD

The unprecedented zeal of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s purge, after an attempted military coup on July 15, has attracted condemnation from international partners and damaged ties with allies in Europe and further afield. Erdogan has accused exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen of masterminding the coup, and his global efforts to crack down on Gülen’s religious movement Hizmet have shifted Turkey’s political battleground to the streets of foreign cities.


Thousands demonstrated in support of Erdogan in the German city of Cologne yesterday, after German authorities refused to extradite local Gülenists to Turkey or shut down their institutions. Other European countries with significant Turkish diasporas, such as Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands, have seen large pro-Erdogan rallies while Gülen supporters have received death threats.


While some Turkish allies like Somalia and Azerbaijan closed Gülen-linked schools, hospitals, and universities, others like Kyrgyzstan and Indonesia have declined to follow suit. Perhaps the country that gives Erdogan the biggest headache is the United States, where authorities appear reluctant to extradite Gülen, now living in Pennsylvania. The Turkish president engaged in a war of words with a top U.S. general, telling him to “know his place” and accusing him of supporting the coup plotters.


It’s clear that what is happening in Turkey is no longer restricted to the country’s borders.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY

  • Parades and tea parties to celebrate England’s largest county on Yorkshire Day.
  • Greece eases the capital controls imposed last year to lure back billions of euros.


MOUNTING EVIDENCE MH370 “GLIDED” INTO OCEAN

There’s increasing evidence that MH370, the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared in March 2014, might have been flown into water. Senior air crash investigator Larry Vance says it’s likely that someone was in control of the plane until the very end, which would put the wreckage in a different area from the zone currently being searched. Read more from the New Zealand Herald.


TOKYO ELECTS FIRST FEMALE GOVERNOR

Yuriko Koike, a former minister of Japan’s governing party, won a landslide victory as the world’s largest urban area elected its first female governor. The Japan Times reports that the 64-year-old, who defied her party by running against its official candidate, will seek to rein in costs in hosting the 2020 Olympics after financial scandals ousted her predecessors.


â€" MY GRAND-PERE’S WORLD

A Khlong Time Ago â€" Bangkok, 1993


TEXAS “CAMPUS CARRY” LAW GOES INTO EFFECT

A controversial law allowing concealed handguns on university campuses in the U.S. state of Texas goes into effect today, which is also the 50th anniversary of a deadly shooting at the University of Texas at Austin. Some universities designated “gun-free zones” on campus. Read more from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


TALIBAN TARGETS FOREIGNERS IN KABUL

A Taliban truck bomb targeted a military and logistics services compound in Kabul that is primarily used by foreigners. Though casualties from the blast seem to be limited, one police officer and both attackers were killed in an ensuing gun battle.


â€" ON THIS DAY

80 years ago on this day, the Berlin Olympic Games opened. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.


VERBATIM

“The times we live in do not call for young couch potatoes, but young people with shoes, or better, boots laced,” said Pope Francis at the World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland.


UBER AND CHINESE COMPETITOR MERGE

Ride-hailing service Uber announced a merger with Didi Chuxing, its largest competitor in China. According to Bloomberg, Didi will purchase Uber’s Chinese subsidiary and invest in the San Francisco-based firm bringing Didi’s valuation to $35 billion after the deal.


â€" WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

For French daily Le Monde, Catherine Vincent reflects on the power of online petitions, and their consequences â€" or lack thereof â€" on democratic decisions: “Is indignation with a few clicks becoming an unavoidable tool for direct democracy? Either way, citizen action of this kind is growing at a time when people are increasingly disenchanted with traditional systems of political representation. ... Online petitions are modern manifestations of something much older, but the Internet's vitality is breathing new life into the approach. Because they're connected to social networks, the online platforms that aggregate these petitions also make it possible for them to spread almost instantly, giving this mode of expression an unprecedented visibility.”

Read the full article, Slacktivism Or Digital Revolutions? The Pros And Cons Of Online Activism.


STANDOFF IN ARMENIAN CAPITAL ENDS

About 20 gunmen who had seized a police station in the Armenian capital of Yerevan surrendered yesterday. The anti-government group had occupied the building for two weeks in a bid to secure the release of jailed opposition leader Jirair Sefilian. Thousands of Armenians supported the group in a demonstration last week.


MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

PARAGUAY DRUG LORD’S PLUSH PRISON CELL

Local police who raided the prison cell of Paraguayan drug lord Jarvis Chimenes Pavão were shocked to find him living a life of luxury. ABC Color reports that his three-room cell was fitted with a kitchen, a plasma TV and a conference room. Authorities launched an investigation to determine who was responsible for the “VIP” treatment.

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Migrant Lives

The Other Scandal At The Polish-Belarusian Border: Where's The UN?

The United Nations, UNICEF, Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations seems to be trying to reach the Polish-Belarusian border, where Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is creating a refugee crisis on purpose.

Migrants in Michalowo, Belarus, next to the border with Poland.

Wojciech Czuchnowski

WARSAW — There is no doubt that the refugees crossing the Belarusian border with Poland — and by extension reaching the European Union — were shepherded through by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. There is more than enough evidence that this is an organized action of the dictator using a network of intermediaries stretching from Africa and the Middle East. But that is not all.

The Belarusian regime has made no secret that its services are guiding refugees to the Polish border, literally pushing them onto (and often, through) the wires.


It can be seen in films made available to the media by... Belarusian border guards and Lukashenko's official information agencies.

Tactics of a strongman

Refugees are not led to the border by "pretend soldiers" in uniforms from a military collectibles store. These are regular formations commanded by state authorities. Their actions violate all rules of peaceful coexistence and humanitarianism to which Belarus has committed itself as a state.

Belarus is dismissed by the "rest of the world" as a hopeless case of a bizarre (although, in the last year, increasingly brutal) dictatorship. But it still formally belongs to a whole range of organizations whose principles it violates every day on the border with Poland.

Indeed, Belarus is a part of the United Nations (it is even listed as a founding state in its declaration), it belongs to the UNICEF, to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and even to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Photo of Polish soldiers setting up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Polish soldiers set up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Maciej Luczniewski/ZUMA

Lukashenko would never challenge the Red Cross

Each of these entities has specialized bureaus whose task is to intervene wherever conventions and human rights are violated. Each of these organizations should have sent their observers and representatives to the conflict area long ago — and without asking Belarus for permission. They should be operating on both sides of the border, as their presence would certainly make it more difficult to break the law.

An incomprehensible absence

Neither the leader of Poland's ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczyński nor even Lukashenko would dare to keep the UN, UNICEF, OSCE or the Red Cross out of their countries.

In recent weeks, the services of one UN state (Belarus) have been regularly violating the border of another UN state (Poland). In the nearby forests, children are being pushed around and people are dying. Despite all of this, none of the international organizations seems to be trying to reach the border nor taking any kind of action required by their responsibilities.

Their absence in such a critical time and place is completely incomprehensible, and their lack of action raises questions about the use of international treaties and organizations created to protect them.

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