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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.


— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

A Khlong Time Ago — 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.


— 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.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

For French daily Le Monde, Catherine Vincent reflects on the power of online petitions, and their consequences — or lack thereof — 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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Green

Bricks Of Weed! The House Of The Future Could Be Made Of Hemp

Hemp has long had more uses than getting high. The plant is now increasingly being used in the construction of houses, with huge benefits for the climate. The only issue is growing enough to meet surging demand.

Blocks of hemp used for house construction.

Jan Grossarth

OLDENBURG — To be clear: Nobody smoked weed at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first semi-detached house made of hemp in Lower Saxony in northwest Germany. This rite-of-passage ceremony to celebrate the completion of the building served nothing more than cold beer.

Christian Eiskamp had spent decades building single-family houses in the sprawling housing complexes in the south of Oldenburg, a city of just over 100,000 people. Then he had the intuition that the heyday of concrete could be coming to an end because of its poor impact on the climate. Searching on Google, he found hemp as an alternative building material.

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