BAGHDADI, MAKING IT PERSONAL IN MOSUL
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, is back on your screen. After almost a year of public silence, and amid rumors that the self-proclaimed "caliph" might be dead, ISIS released what it claims is a 31-minute audio recording of its leader. In his message — which was recorded in the last 10 days according to an expert quoted by Al Jazeera — Baghdadi urges ISIS fighters not to "retreat" as a coalition of Iraqi troops, Kurdish fighters and Shia militias advance on its Iraqi stronghold of Mosul. He declared that "this raging battle and total war" was "a prelude to victory."
To many ISIS enemies, this will sound like a desperate call from a fanatical leader who knows he's losing. In a little over two weeks, anti-ISIS forces have boasted of their impressive gains as Iraqi troops have even entered the city for the first time since Baghdadi's army captured it two-and-a-half years ago.
No doubt, beyond the battlefield, a propaganda war is in full force aimed in part at motivating the respective forces. Baghdadi's audio urges his followers to strike the "enemies of God," including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and to "turn the nights of the unbelievers into days, to wreak havoc in their land and make their blood flow as rivers."
For the anti-ISIS coalition, the goal of eliminating Baghdadi himself may now become just as important as liberating Mosul. Still, as the West has seen in Iraq alone — from Saddam Hussein to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — eliminating a leader is no guarantee of final victory.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Walter Scott shooting trial opens.
- National Sandwich Day in U.S. (but we'll celebrate in Paris too)
UK HIGH COURT SAYS PARLIAMENT NEEDS TO VOTE ON BREXIT
Britain's high court ruled this morning that the two-year process to leave the European Union cannot begin without the Parliament's approval, something that could delay London's triggering of Article 50, The Guardian reports. A majority of British MPs notoriously oppose Brexit, which was decided by 52% of voters on June 23. The government is expected to appeal the decision.
REBELS REJECT RUSSIA AND SYRIA DEMAND TO LEAVE ALEPPO
Syrian rebels have rejected a Russian and Syrian offer to leave eastern Aleppo unharmed and with their weapons by Friday evening, the BBC reports. One rebel leader was quoted as saying: "We will not give up the city of Aleppo to the Russians and we won't surrender."
— ON THIS DAY
Who knew Anna Wintour and Godzilla had something in common? That, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.
FOCUS STAYS ON CLINTON AND FBI
As damaging WikiLeaks revelations keep pouring in, Fox News reports that an indictment in the FBI investigations of Hillary Clinton's emails and the Clinton Foundation is "likely," citing two sources inside the FBI. President Obama meanwhile criticized FBI director James Comey, without mentioning him, renewed his support for the Democratic candidate and told a crowd in North Carolina that "the fate of the republic rests on your shoulders."
TERROR SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN SYDNEY AND BERLIN
Australia's counter-terrorism police arrested two men in Sydney, aged 24 and 17, over alleged links to terrorist groups in Syria, ABC reports. German media meanwhile report the arrest in Berlin of a Syrian man believed to have links with ISIS.
Near the French capital's Gare du Nord train station, migrants have expanded yet another shantytown just days after the controversial Calais "Jungle" was dismantled by the state. And as Delphine de Mallevoüe reports for Paris-based daily Le Figaro, locals are not pleased: "Paris already had its own fair share of undocumented migrants, but the situation has gotten worse over the last week in the capital, say shopkeepers and residents along the Avenue de Flandres. Paris city officials says some 2,000-2,500 migrants, mostly Sudanese, Eritreans, Afghans and Libyans, are in this encampment. ... Faisal, a Pakistani who owns a clothes shop on the Avenue de Flandres, says the situation deteriorated in the past week: â€˜Business in the neighborhood is dead. People lock themselves up at home and don't even want to go out to buy bread,' he says. â€˜A few more weeks like this and I'll have to close down.'"
Read the full article, Calais To Paris, The Grim Mobility Of Migrant "Jungles".
China's middle-class is growing, and the world's second biggest economy will become a middle-class society by 2030, a new report suggests. By then, about 35% of the population will have in excess of $10,000 of annual disposable income, while the proportion of high-income individuals will grow from 2.6% to 14.5%. Read more from the South China Morning Post.
CENTRAL ITALY HIT BY ANOTHER QUAKE
The earth shook again overnight in central Italy, with a seismic event of magnitude 4.8, Corriere Della Sera reports. No casualties have been reported so far.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Need A Bigger Boat — Caraquet, 1994
It took them 108 years, but the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series after what reporters are describing as "the greatest World Series Game 7 ever." See how the Chicago Tribune featured the historic win on its front page today.
MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Italy, Earthquake Cracks Open A Lifetime Gone By — Rue Amelot essay
- Lawyer Up! Clinton, Trump Camps Prepare For Contested Vote — Bloomberg
- Students Need New Mentality, Skill Set To Enter Job Market — Clarin
FLIGHT OF THE SEAGAL
American action movie actor Steven Seagal has been granted Russian citizenship. So, what should we call him now: the patriot or the foreigner?