Attacks In Turkey, Weakened Typhoon, Space Veggies

Attacks In Turkey, Weakened Typhoon, Space Veggies


Police officers in Ferguson, Mo., shot and wounded a young man who reportedly fired his gun at them during an otherwise peaceful protest march to commemorate Sunday’s one-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of officer Darren Wilson. The suspect, who reportedly unleashed a “remarkable amount of gunfire,” is undergoing surgery and is in “critical, unstable condition,” CNN quoted St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar as saying. Belmar lamented the shooting, saying continued violence only hinders the city’s attempts to progress after last year’s killing. “We cannot continue, we cannot talk about the good things that we have been talking about, if we are prevented from moving forward with this kind of violence,” he said. Read more in our Extra! feature.


“Women are tremendous. … They are amazing executives. They are killers,” apparent GOP frontrunner Donald Trump said Sunday during one of his four news show appearances. It came in response to critics who accused him of sexism after a feud with Fox News journalist Megyn Kelly, who moderated last week’s Republican debate. Complaining that he had been treated unfairly during the debate, Trump had said Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”


At least four police officers were killed in a mine attack in southeastern Turkey this morning, just moments after two people opened fire outside the U.S. consulate building in Istanbul in an attack that left no casualties. One of the two Istanbul attackers, a woman, was arrested. According to Hürriyet, the explosion that killed police officers was the work of militants from the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), and it comes amid escalating tensions between Turkey and the Kurdish minority. Speaking to the BBC, PKK leader Cemil Bayik said the goal behind Turkey’s recent attacks against Kurdish fighters in Syria was “to limit the PKK's fight against ISIS. Turkey is protecting ISIS.”


The small Colombian town of Concepcion is the first place in the country where the vast majority of transactions involve electronic banking via mobile phones, meaning that it’s well ahead of even northern Europe, El Espectador writes. “The curiosity in this little town is the coexistence of 21st century payment methods with its 19th century roads,” journalist Sergio David Gonzalez writes. “It takes more than two hours to get here by bus from Medellín. The paved highway runs as far as the neighboring town of San Vicente, south of Concepción, and then devolves into a dirt track. Another route here is through Barbosa, though part of this road is dangerous in winter.” The cash-free culture all started as part of a pilot program intended to bring ordinary citizens and small businesses into the official economy and banking system.

Read the full article, The Small Colombian Town That Stopped Using Cash.


Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul was the target of yet another attack this morning, this time at its airport, after a wave of violence that has killed at least 50 people and left hundreds wounded in recent days. At least four people have been confirmed dead but many more casualties are feared.



Pakistani police have arrested seven of the 12 people accused of involvement with a gang believed to have sexually abused at least 280 children, Dawn reports. The victims, some of whom are now in their 20s, began coming forward to police last month, accusing perpetrators of having drugged them and extorted money from their families. The abuse, which targeted children as young as 6, was recorded and the videos sold. Read more from The New York Times.


NASA’s Magellan spacecraft reached Venus on this day in 1990, 15 months after it first launched. Check out today’s shot of history.


The Greek government and international lenders are on track to finalize details for a third bailout, worth 86 billion euros, by an Aug. 20 deadline, the Financial Times reports. Significant concessions from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have convinced most creditors, though Germany “wants to hold out longer to squeeze more reforms from Athens,” the newspaper reports. Greece’s next repayment, to the European Central Bank, is due Aug. 20.


Photo: Han Chuanhao/Xinhua/ZUMA

Typhoon Soudelor, billed last week as the biggest of the year with winds of up to 230 kilometers an hour (140 mph), has weakened and been downgraded to a tropical storm after causing extensive damage in Taiwan and China, AFP reports. Soudelor killed at least six people in Taiwan and 17 in China in floods and mudslides, and hundreds more were injured.


Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will eat space-grown vegetables for the first time today. If successful, the experiment could both aid NASA’s exploration of other planets and reduce costs.

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Queen Elizabeth II with UK PM Boris Johnson at a reception at Windsor Castle yesterday

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Hej!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where chaos hits Syria, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is accused of crimes against humanity and a social media giant plans to rebrand itself. For Spanish daily La Razon, reporter Paco Rodríguez takes us to the devastated town of Belchite, where visitors are reporting paranormal phenomenons.



• Syrian violence erupts: Army shelling on residential areas of the rebel-held region of northwestern Syria killed 13 people, with school children among the victims. The attack occurred shortly after a bombing killed at least 14 military personnel in Damascus. In central Syria, a blast inside an ammunition depot kills five soldiers.

• Renewed Ethiopia air raids on capital of embattled Tigray region: Ethiopian federal government forces have launched its second air strike this week on the capital of the northern Tigray. The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near-year-old conflict between the government forces and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that killed thousands and displaced over 2 million people.

• Bolsonaro accused of crimes against humanity: A leaked draft government report concludes that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro should be charged with crimes against humanity, forging documents and incitement to crime, following his handling of the country's COVID-19 pandemic. The report blames Bolsonaro's administration for more than half of Brazil's 600,000 coronavirus deaths.

• Kidnappers in Haiti demand $17 million to free a missionary group: A Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 members of a Christian aid group, including five children, demanded $1million ransom per person. Most of those being held are Americans; one is Canadian.

• Putin bows out of COP26 in Glasgow: Russian President Vladimir Putin will not fly to Glasgow to attend the COP26 climate summit. A setback for host Britain's hopes of getting support from major powers for a more radical plan to tackle climate change.

• Queen Elizabeth II cancels trip over health concerns: The 95-year-old British monarch has cancelled a visit to Northern Ireland after she was advised by her doctors to rest for the next few days. Buckingham Palace assured the queen, who attended public events yesterday, was "in good spirits."

• A new name for Facebook? According to a report by The Verge website, Mark Zuckerberg's social media giant is planning on changing the company's name next week, to reflect its focus on building the "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet.


"Oil price rise causes earthquake," titles Portuguese daily Jornal I as surging demand coupled with supply shortage have driven oil prices to seven-year highs at more than $80 per barrel.



For the first time women judges have been appointed to Egypt's State Council, one of the country's main judicial bodies. The council's chief judge, Mohammed Hossam el-Din, welcomed the 98 new judges in a celebratory event in Cairo. Since its inception in 1946, the State Council has been exclusively male and until now actively rejected female applicants.


Spanish civil war town now a paranormal attraction

Ghosts from Spain's murderous 1930s civil war are said to roam the ruins of Belchite outside Zaragoza. Tourists are intrigued and can book a special visit to the town, reports Paco Rodríguez in Madrid-based daily La Razon.

🏚️ Between August 24 and September 6, 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, more than 5,000 people died in 14 days of intense fighting in Belchite in north-eastern Spain, and the town was flattened. The fighting began on the outskirts and ended in house-to-house fighting. Almost half the town's 3,100 residents died in the struggle. The war annihilated centuries of village history. The town was never rebuilt, though a Pueblo Nuevo (or new town) was built by the old one.

😱 Belchite became an open-air museum of the horror of the civil war of 1936-39, which left 300,000 dead and wounds that have yet to heal or, for some today, mustn't. For many locals, the battle of Belchite has yet to end, judging by reports of paranormal incidents. Some insist they have heard the screams of falling soldiers, while others say the Count of Belchite wanders the streets, unable to find a resting place after his corpse was exhumed.

🎟️ Ordinary visitors have encountered unusual situations. Currently, you can only visit Belchite at set times every day, with prior booking. More daring visitors can also visit at 10 p.m. on weekends. Your ticket does not include a guaranteed paranormal experience, but many visitors insist strange things have happened to them. These include sudden changes of temperature or the strange feeling of being observed from a street corner or a window. Furthermore, such phenomena increase as evening falls, as if night brought the devastated town to life.

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We still cling to the past because back then we had security, which is the main thing that's missing in Libya today.

— Fethi al-Ahmar, an engineer living in the Libyan desert town Bani Walid, told AFP, as the country today marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The leader who had reigned for 42 years over Libya was toppled in a revolt inspired by the Arab Spring uprisings and later killed by rebels. Some hope the presidential elections set in December can help the country turn the page on a decade of chaos and instability.


Iran to offer Master's and PhD in morality enforcement

Iran will create new "master's and doctorate" programs to train state morality agents checking on people's public conduct and attire, according to several Persian-language news sources.

Mehran Samadi, a senior official of the Headquarters to Enjoin Virtues and Proscribe Vices (Amr-e be ma'ruf va nahy az monkar) said "anyone who wants to enjoin virtues must have the knowledge," the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported, citing reports from Iran.

The morality patrols, in force since the 1979 revolution, tend to focus mostly on young people and women, particularly the public appearance for the latter. Loose headscarves will send women straight to a police station, often in humiliating conditions. Five years ago, the regime announced a new force of some 7,000 additional agents checking on women's hijabs and other standards of dress and behavior.

Last week, for example, Tehran police revealed that they had "disciplined" agents who had been filmed forcefully shoving a girl into a van. Such incidents may increase under the new, conservative president, Ibrahim Raisi.

Speaking about the new academic discipline, Samadi said morals go "much further than headscarves and modesty," and those earning graduate degrees would teach agents "what the priorities are."

Iran's Islamic regime, under the guidance of Shia jurists, continuously fine tunes notions of "proper" conduct — and calibrates its own, interventionist authority. More recently the traffic police chief said women were not allowed to ride motorbikes, and "would be stopped," Prague-based Radio Farda reported.

Days before, a cleric in the holy city of Qom in central Iran insisted that people must be vaccinated by a medic of the same sex "as often as possible," and if not, there should be no pictures of mixed-sex vaccinations.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

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