SPOTLIGHT: A DEADLY END TO A DEADLY RAMADAN
The latest terror news bulletin flashed from one of Islamâ€™s holiest sites, the Prophet Muhammadâ€™s mosque in the city of Medina. Two days before the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the mosque was struck yesterday by a suicide bomber, killing four security guards and wounding five others. The deadly bombing appeared linked to a series of attacks in Saudi Arabia yesterday, though strikes in the city of Jeddah and Qatif left no casualties.
This series of attacks on the symbolic Saudi territory, just before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, comes at the end of a bloody Ramadan â€" which is just what the terror group ISIS called for in late May. It is also a reminder that the majority of ISIS" victims are Muslim. The following list is just a portion of those launched in the past month:
- On June 21, a suicide car bombing in Jordan killed six members of the countryâ€™s security forces.
- In Lebanon, a series of suicide attacks on June 27 killed six people and left 19 injured in a mainly Christian area of the north of the country.
- Also on June 27, 42 people were killed in a terrorist attack in the Yemeni city of Mukalla.
- On June 12, an American-born Muslim killed 49 people at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida.
- Last week, three armed men, believed to be ISIS terrorists from Russian republics, stormed Istanbulâ€™s Ataturk airport and killed 44 people.
- On Friday and Saturday, gunmen stormed a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and eventually killed 20 hostages and two police officers.
- A truck filled with explosives was detonated on Saturday night in a busy shopping area in Baghdad. More than 200 people were killed and at least 175 wounded.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Tories begin selecting new British PM.
- China starts week of military drills in South China Sea.
- â€œVatiLeaksâ€ trio stand trial.
NASA SPACECRAFT ENTERS JUPITERâ€™S ORBIT
â€œNASA did it again,â€ the head of the Juno mission was quoted as saying last night by USA Today during a press conference at the California Institute of Technology after the spacecraft successfully made it into Jupiterâ€™s orbit. Juno will now spend time studying Jupiterâ€™s giant radiation belts â€œjustâ€ 2,600 miles above the planetâ€™s clouds.
CHINA FLOODS KILL MORE THAN 100
Severe floods across central and southern China have left at least 112 people dead or missing in recent days, Channel NewsAsia reports. The heavy rains have also damaged more than 1.5 million hectares of cropland and affected more than 16 million people.
This Brazilian newspaper featured security concerns in Rio de Janeiro on its front page today, just a month before the Summer Olympics are set to open.
SYRIAN REBEL GROUPS ACCUSED OF WAR CRIMES
In a report published this morning, Amnesty International accused five rebel groups in Syria (al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, Nureddin Zinki, the Levant Front and Division 16) of committing â€œwar crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law with impunity,â€ as Al Jazeera reports.
â€" ON THIS DAY
Dolly, the worldâ€™s first cloned sheep, would have turned 20 today. That, and more, in your 57-second shot of History.
MALAYSIA BLAST LAST WEEK WAS ISIS ATTACK
Malaysian authorities said this morning that a grenade attack carried out on June 28 against a bar outside the countryâ€™s capital Kuala Lumpur, was the first attack by ISIS on Malaysian territory, The Star reports. The attack, which injured eight, was initially thought by police to be caused by business rivalry. Two men suspected of involvement in the attack have been arrested.
The secretive Freemasons usually recruit through word-of-mouth, which is why a recent Facebook ad, seeking applicants for a São Paulo branch, is such a source of curiosity. For Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo, Chico Felitti responded to the ad: â€œThe candidates take turns entering a tiled room with no furniture except for two office chairs. The master (third in the hierarchy) who will direct the interview sits in one of them. â€˜There is nothing mystical here,â€™ he says. â€˜It's not about religion. We wonâ€™t murder each other.â€™ The meetings, he goes on to explain, are like a never-ending network of relationships. What kind of relationships? â€˜I'll leave it to your imagination,â€™ he says. The interview goes on for about 30 minutes. The farewell at the end comes with a compliment â€" "Your profile is very interesting" â€" but also a warning: â€˜We are everywhere and powerful. So it's easy for us to learn more about you.â€™â€
Read the full article, In Brazil, Following Facebook Into A Freemason Lodge.
â€œI am wondering what real added value they provide in terms of securing the national territory,â€ the French socialist MP Sébastien Pietrasanta was quoted as saying by Le Monde this morning about the 6,000 to 7,000 soldiers currently on duty in France as part of extra anti-terror measures imposed after the Paris attacks last November.
MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
After The Mouse â€" Disney World, 1987
IRANIAN FILM DIRECTOR ABBAS KIAROSTAMI DIES
Abbas Kiarostami, an influential Iranian director who was awarded the Palme dâ€™Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for his minimalist movie Taste of Cherry, died yesterday in Paris from cancer.
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ONE LAST â€œHÙâ€
Icelandâ€™s soccer team returned home yesterday after their 5-2 defeat against France in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Euro on Sunday. They were received as heroes by tens of thousands of supporters in Reykjavik, where they united in a final â€œHù,â€ their now famous â€œVikingâ€ chant (which expand=1] may actually be Scottish).
Welcome to Monday, where the UK pays homage to slain MP David Amess, Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, and Facebook gets ready to build its "metaverse." Please fasten your seatbelts: Worldcrunch also takes stock of the long-lasting effects — good and bad — the pandemic has had on the air travel industry.
[*Azeri - Azerbaijan]
🌎 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
• Myanmar to free political prisoners: Myanmar's junta chief Min Aung Hlaing has announced the release of 5,636 prisoners who had been jailed for protesting the coup that ousted the civilian government in February 2021.
• Powerful Haiti gang behind the kidnapping of U.S. missionaries: The notorious 400 Mawozo gang is believed to be behind the kidnapping in Haiti of a group of Christian missionaries, including 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. The brazen kidnapping on Saturday comes as crime is spiking since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.
• UK to pay tribute to David Amess: British lawmakers will pay homage in parliament to colleague David Amess, who was stabbed to death Friday in what was described by the police as a "terrorist incident." Officers arrested a 25-year-old suspect whose father, Harbi Ali Kullane, worked as a media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia.
• COVID update: Russia has registered more than 34,000 cases of new infections in the past 24 hours, a new record since the start of the pandemic. Meanwhile, police in the northeast Italian city of Trieste used water cannons to clear striking dockworkers protesting Italy's new requirements that all employees be vaccinated.
• At least 26 killed in floods in India: Torrential rain has triggered floods and landslides in India's southern coastal state of Kerala, killing at least 26 people.
• Facebook to hire 10,000 in EU to develop "metaverse": The U.S. social media giant plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to build a "metaverse," a virtual reality version of the internet that the company touts as the future.
• Punishing parents for children's bad behavior: After limiting gaming hours for minors, China is now considering legislation to reprimand parents if their children exhibit "very bad behavior" or commit crimes.
🗞️ FRONT PAGE
Colombian daily El Espectador dedicates its front page to Alex Saab, "owner of the secrets" of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The Colombian businessman, wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly laundering money on behalf of Venezuela's government, has been extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. where he is scheduled to appear in court today.
#️⃣ BY THE NUMBERS
China's economy registered its slowest pace in a year as the country faces a looming energy crisis with power shortages and increasing pressure on its property sector. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the period between July-September rose 4.9%, the weakest numbers since the third quarter of 2020 and significantly lower than forecasts. The world's second-largest economy faces a debt crisis linked to the China Evergrande Group debt crisis, while energy shortfalls have dropped factory output to its weakest since early 2020, when heavy COVID-19 curbs were in place.
📰 STORY OF THE DAY
7 ways the pandemic may change the airline industry for good
Will flying be greener? More comfortable? Less frequent? As the world eyes a post-COVID reality, we look at ways the airline industry has been changing through a pandemic that has devastated air travel.
⛽ Cleaner aviation fuel: With air travel responsible for roughly 12% of all CO2 emissions from transport, and stricter international regulation on the horizon, the industry is increasingly seeking sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fuel. In Germany, state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reports that the world's first factory producing CO2-neutral kerosene recently started operations in the town of Wertle, in Lower Saxony. The plant, for which Lufthansa is set to become the pilot customer, will produce CO2-neutral kerosene through a circular production cycle incorporating sustainable and green energy sources and raw materials
.🛃 Smoother check-in: The pandemic has also accelerated the shift towards contactless traveling, with more airports harnessing the power of biometrics — such as facial recognition or fever screening — to reduce touchpoints and human contact. Similar technology can also be used to more efficiently scan physical objects, such as explosive detection. Ultimately, passengers will be able to "check-in" and go through a security screening anywhere at the airports, removing queues and bottlenecks.
✈️ The billion-dollar question: Will we fly less? At the end of the day, even with all these (mostly positive) changes that we've seen take shape over the past 18 months, the industry faces major uncertainty about whether air travel will ever return to the pre-COVID levels. Not only are people wary about being in crowded and closed airplanes, but the worth of long-distance business travel, in particular, is being questioned as many have seen that meetings can function remotely, via Zoom and other online apps.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
"The crimes committed that night are unforgivable for the Republic."
— Emmanuel Macron became the first French president to commemorate the killing of as many as 200 Algerian independence protesters by Parisian police in 1961. For 40 years, French officials ignored the massacre, which took place a year before Algeria gained its independence from France after an eight-year war. In 2012, French President François Hollande acknowledged the killings for the first time on a visit to Algeria, and Macron took it further by attending Sunday's commemoration at the site where the events happened in the French capital. Still, many had hoped the French President would go further and take responsibility for a "state massacre," for a crime many historians consider the most violent repression of a peaceful demonstration in post-War Europe.
📈💥 IN OTHER NEWS
Low trust, high risk: The global rise of violence targeting politicians
The deadly stabbing of British Parliament Member David Amess confirms an ongoing study on trust and governance in democracies around the world: It's bad. In The Conversation, James Weinberg — the study's author and a lecturer in Political Behavior at the University of Sheffield — writes:
⏪ The assassination of Amess, who was stabbed to death in his constituency on Friday, is a tragic moment for democracy. What makes it even more devastating is that such a catastrophic failure is not without precedent or predictability. Labour MP Jo Cox was shot at her constituency surgery in 2016. Before her, another Labour MP, Stephen Timms, survived a stabbing in 2010. And Andrew Pennington, a Gloucestershire county councilor, died in a frenzied attack in 2001 while trying to protect local Liberal Democrat MP Nigel Jones.
☝️ Beyond these critical junctures in the public debate about politicians' safety, elected representatives must live with an increasingly insidious level of popular cynicism that threatens violence on an almost daily basis.
🇬🇧🇳🇿🇿🇦 Not only are these experiences of abuse or threats of physical violence felt across both sides of the political aisle in the UK — they also appear to be growing more common in other democratic contexts where the climate of politics has been presumed to be both calmer and more volatile, from New Zealand to South Africa.
Read the full piece from The Conversation, now on Worldcrunch.com
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