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SPOTLIGHT: BREXIT, VIOLENCE AND EUROPE'S PAST

Tributes are pouring in for slain British lawmaker Jo Cox, 41, who was fatally stabbed and shot during a meeting yesterday with constituents in northern England. The mother of two young children, Cox was praised as a big-hearted defender of human rights and refugees and was most recently an advocate for UK remaining in the European Union, ahead of next week's so-called "Brexit" referendum. A 52-year-old man, identified as Tommy Mair, has been arrested, and at least one local witness apparently heard him yell "Britain first!" during the attack. Mair is reported to have had ties to a U.S.-based neo-Nazi group called National Alliance, according to racism watchdog Southern Poverty Law Center.


Whether or not police determine that Cox's support of the European Union or immigrant rights was a motive in the murder, the stakes are high for the June 23 Brexit vote. Writing last week from Berlin for French daily Les Echos, political scientist Dominique Moisi said the West should not forget the still relatively recent history of Germany's descent into Nazism. "It's the democratic world that needs to remember the lessons from the collapse of the Weimar Republic. Fritz Stern, the great German-born American historian who passed away recently, was always obsessed with how quickly a sophisticated society that produced giants such as Kant or Beethoven could sink easily into utter savagery. If it happened in Germany, it could happen anywhere if we're not careful — through a tragic succession of events interacting with one another, without any apparent logic or causality." Though written before Cox's murder, Monsieur Moisi's piece is worth a close read today.



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)

  • President Obama hosts White House meeting today with Saudi Arabia's powerful heir apparent, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • Italian municipal election run-offs on Sunday, including race for Rome mayor.
  • NBA Finals decisive Game 7 on Sunday.


CHARITY SAYS NO TO EU MONEY

Medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) announced today it will reject all funding from the European Union in protest of its migrant policy, Reuters reports. Back in March, the EU agreed upon a deal with Turkey to stem the flow of migrants into the continent.


REBEL U.S. DIPLOMATS CALL FOR SYRIAN REGIME CHANGE

An internal document, signed by dozens of State Department officials, deplores the U.S. government's policy in Syria and calls for targeted military strikes against the Damascus government. The Wall Street Journalreports that the document urges regime change as the only way to defeat the Islamic State terror group.


— ON THIS DAY

Remember that extra slow highway chase that led to O.J. Simpson's arrest? It was live on TV 22 years ago on this day. That, and more, in today's 57-second shot of History.


VERBATIM

"The major political task that together we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly." In a much anticipated speech yesterday, Democratic presidential challenger Bernie Sanders did not pull out of the race. But he did offer clues that he will soon rally around the party's presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, ahead of the general election against Trump. More from The Washington Post.


EGYPTAIR BLACK BOXES

Egyptian investigators have started analyzing the black box from the EgyptAir Flight 804 that crashed en route to Cairo from Paris on May 19, killing all 66 people on board. Although the black box was damaged during the crash in the Mediterranean, AP reports that its memory unit, which contains the cockpit voice recorder, was safely recovered yesterday and could give crucial clues as to what led to the accident. The plane's second black box was also found today.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Tests in a region in Colombia with widespread, recurring and inherited Alzheimer's may help researchers understand why the disease occurs and has thwarted treatments for so long. For Colombian daily El Espectador, Jesus Mendez reports from Antioquia: "Preventive tests may be a way then: testing drugs on people without symptoms but who will develop the illness. But how do you identify them, when the immense majority of people who develop Alzheimer's do so unexpectedly, without anticipatory signs. The illness incubates in absolute silence. This is where the so-called ‘Antioquian curse' comes in. Within a few square kilometers, hundreds of people are among the carrier families. They have no symptoms but are already sentenced. They will suffer what locals call the ‘Piedrahita foolishness,' a reference to one of 25 families carrying the mutation thought to originate in their ancestors, a Basque couple.

Read the full article, In "Cursed" Colombia Region, Clues To Alzheimer's Cause.


INDIA VERDICT

An Indian court today sentenced 11 Hindu convicts to life in prison, and a dozen others to seven years in jail, for their role in the killing of scores of Muslims during riots in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, a time when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the state government. Allegations have dogged Modi ever since that he was complicit in the violence, but a court-appointed panel in 2013 said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Postcard From The Emperor — Tangermünde, 1975


SANTA BARBARA FIRE TORNADO

A wildfire that started Wednesday afternoon near Santa Barbara, California is spreading rapidly, with flames described as a "wall of fire" having already scorched through 1,700 acres of land.


— MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

MAKING ISIS FABULOUS

Hackers belonging to the activist group Anonymous reportedly hacked into 258 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts yesterday, flooding them with messages of support to the LGBT community, rainbows and gay porn.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Why I Fled: Meet The Russian Men Choosing Exile Over Putin's War

After Vladimir Putin announced a national military draft, thousands of men are fleeing the country. Independent Russian news platform Vazhnye Istorii spoke to three men at risk of conscription who've already fled.

A mobilized man says goodbye to his daughter in Yekaterinburg.

Vazhnye Istorii

A mix of panic, violence and soul-searching has followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement of a partial mobilization of 300,000 men to fight the increasingly difficult “special operation” in Ukraine.

Soon after the announcement, protests were reported in Moscow and around the country, with at least 2,000 people being detained during the past several days. It is still unclear how successful these protests will be.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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More notably, the mobilization decree also prompted more than 260,000 men of conscription age to leave left the country. Observers believe that number will continue to grow, especially as long as the borders stay open. Almost all men aged 18-65 are eligible, but some professions, including banking and the media, are exempt.

Vazhnye Istorii, an independent Russian investigative news platform based in Latvia, spoke to three of the many thousands who have chosen to flee the country.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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