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Balkan Genocide Ruling, Castro Resurfaces, Google-Uber War

Balkan Genocide Ruling, Castro Resurfaces, Google-Uber War

After years of investigation, the Hague’s International Court of Justice has ruled that Serbia did not commit genocide against the Croats during the Balkan wars in the 1990s. While acknowledging that crimes had been committed, the court argued that Croatia failed to prove that Serbia had intended to “destroy in whole or in part” the Croat population. Similarly, the UN’s top court rejected a genocide counterclaim from Serbia. The case was a particularly difficult one, as both parties had accused the other of genocide during the 1991-1995 war when Croatia fought for independence from the country then known as Yugoslavia. As many as 20,000 people are estimated to have died in what was Europe’s most violent conflict since World War II. This short BBC video offers more background on the case.

President Barack Obama’s 2016 budget (see photo above) includes an $8.8 billion request to fund the fight against ISIS, which includes helping to modernize and reinforce the Iraqi army and strengthening the moderate Syrian rebellion. The request comes amid news that Kurdish fighters backed by U.S.-led airstrikes continue to gain ground against ISIS around the town of Kobani.

Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy has renounced his Egyptian citizenship in a bid to be released from jail and deported to Canada, where he is also a citizen. Fahmy has been detained for 402 days over allegations of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood, but he is expected to be released soon, as was his Australian colleague Peter Greste over the weekend. But the fate of a third Al Jazeera journalist, Baher Mohamed, is unclear, as he holds no dual-citizenship.

“Closing my eyes and holding still. It's the end if I get mad or scream. It's close to a prayer. Hate is not for humans. Judgment lies with God. That's what I learned from my Arabic brothers and sisters.” This 2010 tweet from Japanese journalist Kenji Goto has been retweeted tens of thousands of times as a tribute following his execution by the ISIS terror group.

Cuba's Communist Party newspaper Granma has published the first photos of Fidel Castro in months, amid rumors that the health of the 88-year-old former Cuban leader has recently deteriorated. Read more here.

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Today is “the day the music died.” Time for your 57-second shot of history.

William Schabas, the Canadian head of a United Nations inquiry into possible Israeli war crimes during last summer’s military operation in Gaza, has resigned after Israel accused him of bias, Haaretz reports. Schabas, who admitted he had written an 2012 opinion letter for the Palestine Liberation Organization, denounced “malicious attacks” but said he would step down to prevent the issue from overshadowing preparation of the report, which is due to be published March 23, one week after Israel’s general election.

As Le Temps’ Rinny Gremaud writes, ending a client-psychotherapist relationship is a complicated, tangled business. “But there" s an art and a way of doing this,” Gremaud writes. “Some people do it in stages. Others goof up their leave-taking. ‘It’s an extraordinarily complex question,’ says Ignacio Pelegri, a psychoanalyst in Geneva. ‘It’s as if I were to ask you how to put an end to your relationship with your parents. Does that relationship ever really end? In one way, yes. Parents do at some point distance themselves from their parental roles. But the connection is lost beyond a certain framework.’”
Read the full article, Breaking Up Is Hard ... With Your Shrink.

Google, one of Uber’s biggest investors, is preparing to launch its own ride-for-hire service in conjunction with the company’s driverless cars project, Bloomberg reports. Uber is also stepping on Google’s toes after it announced plans yesterday to develop its own technology for self-driving cars.

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The U.S. Justice Department has decided not to prosecute Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for the widely reported phone-hacking scandal and bribery of public officials in the UK, The Guardian reports. The 2011 revelation that journalists at the media mogul’s tabloid News Of the World had hacked the cellphones of a missing teenage girl and dozens of celebrities caused a massive uproar in Britain, eventually leading to the publication’s closure.

You’ve never seen The Simpsons’ opening sequence with that many pixels, but it’s better than ever.

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Giulia Cecchetin, An Italian Murder That Epitomizes 21st-Century Femicide

Cecchettin was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in northern Italy, a murder case that has quickly turned into a political movement. The supposed motive is chilling in what it says about the current state of male-dominated society.

A women standing in front of a large protest holds her hands together to form a triangle shape

Turin, Italy: A moment of the march in the streets of Turin after the feminicide of 22 years-old Giulia Cecchettin by his ex boyfriend Filippo Turetta on November 21, 2023.

Annalisa Camilli


ROME — On November 11, Giulia Cecchettin and her ex-boyfriend Filippo Turetta went missing after meeting for dinner. For a week, Italians followed the case in hopes that the story would end with two lovers returning home after going on an adventure — but women knew better.

As the days went by, more details of their relationship started to come to light. Filippo had been a jealous, possessive boyfriend, he had not dealt with Giulia's decision to break up very well, and he constantly hounded her to get back together.

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When Giulia's body was found at the bottom of a lake in the northern region of Veneto, with 20 stab wounds, Italians were not surprised, but they were fed up. Vigils, demonstrations and protests spread throughout the country: Giulia Cecchettin's death, Italy's 105th case of femicide for the year 2023, finally opened a breach of pain and anger into public opinion. But why this case, why now?

It was Elena Cecchettin, Giulia's sister, who played a vital role. At the end of a torchlight procession, the 24-year-old university student took the floor and did something people weren't expecting: she turned private grief into a political movement. Elena distanced herself from the role of the victim and took on the responsibility for a future change.

"Filippo is not a monster; a monster is an exception, someone external to society, someone society should not take responsibility for. But here that responsibility exists," she said confidently, leaving everyone breathless.

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