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Brussels Lockdown Continues, Bye-Bye Kirchnerism, Jukebox Birthday

Brussels Lockdown Continues, Bye-Bye Kirchnerism, Jukebox Birthday


The terror threat In the Belgian capital of Brussels remains at its maximum level, with the city entering its third consecutive day under lockdown, Le Soir reports. Schools, universities and most public transportation are closed, as the police continue to hunt suspect Salah Abdeslam, believed to have participated in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks. Police conducted 16 raids across the country, especially in suburban areas around Brussels, but no guns or explosives were found, despite what officials have called an "imminent threat" of a Paris-style attack. Abdeslam wasn't among the 16 people arrested over the weekend. Newspaper La Dernière Heure reports he was spotted late yesterday driving a BMW on a motorway just kilometers away from the German border.


"Of course it's not accepted, but the factual point is that all the terrorists are basically migrants," controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told Politico in an exclusive interview, commenting on the latest wave of attacks in Paris and the ongoing migrant crisis. "The question is when they migrated to the European Union."


French President François Hollande welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron to Paris this morning, as the French leader launched a very busy diplomatic week that will see him meet with President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Le Monde reports. After paying tribute to the victims of the latest Paris attacks, Cameron said Britain "will do all in our power to support our friend and ally France to defeat this evil death cult." He said that the British Parliament could be called next week to vote on allowing British airstrikes in Syria. Hollande said France would "intensify" its airstrikes against ISIS, adding that the goal is to "inflict as much damage as possible."

  • Speaking at the end of his trip to Asia, Obama said Sunday that the U.S. is "intensifying our strategy on all fronts" with the aim to "destroy" ISIS. This came after the UN Security Council approved a resolution calling on member states to take "all necessary measures" against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
  • Meanwhile, Russian warplanes have conducted 472 strikes against terrorist targets across Syria in the last two days, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters this morning. "Terrorists have suffered their biggest losses in the provinces of Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa and Aleppo," he said, adding that the terrorist command center near Aleppo was completely destroyed, as well as ISIS-controlled oil refineries and storage facilities. The Syrian army, backed by Russian airstrikes, is meanwhile gaining territory around Aleppo, Iranian news agency Fars reports. But according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Russian airstrikes are also taking a heavy toll on civilians, with 403 deaths since Sept. 30.


Photo: Especial/Notimex/Newscom/ZUMA

After 12 years under the rule of center-left Presidents Néstor Kirchner and his wife Cristina Kirchner, Argentina voted Conservative leader Mauricio Macri, the opponent of Kirchner's hand-picked candidate. The Cambiemos (Let's Change) candidate won 51.4% of the vote, defeating Kirchner's "protege" Daniel Scioli, in what Clarín says was a vote dominated by the fear of status quo politics. "Today is a historic day, it's the changing of an era," Macri said in his victory speech. Read more in Le Blog.


More than 4,900 Chinese officials were "reprimanded" in October as part of Beijing's fight against corruption, Xinhua reports. According to figures from the country's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, some 36,600 have been "punished" since the beginning of the year.


Three days of national mourning begin today in Mali in memory of the 22 people killed during the Friday terrorist attack in a Bamako hotel. It's still unclear which organization unleashed the deadly violence, as Radio France Internationale reported that two groups claimed responsibility. Al-Murabitoun, the jihadist group led by infamous one-eyed terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar, was the first to claim responsibility, though President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita told Al Jazeera that evidence points at another, lesser known group called the Macina Liberation Front. In a statement, the group said it had conducted the attack with another regional jihadist group, Ansar Dine.



Le Temps' Marie-Claude Martin offers up a mini manifesto deploring the modern and very public obsession with the sport of running. Five years ago, she writes, she never would have needed to make this confession. "Back then, running was a pastime like any other. Today, it has become a model of virtue, hedonistic asceticism, one of the most commonly shared human activities. In fact, 35% of Europeans aged 15 to 65 indulge in the so-called pleasures of running."

Read the full article, Runners Of The World, Get Lost!


Pfizer and Botox-maker Allergan agreed yesterday on a merger deal that will create the world's biggest drug maker, The Wall Street Journal reports. The merger, expected to be announced today, will be the biggest so far this year, valued at more than $150 billion. But to secure a lower corporation tax, it's the smaller company, Dublin-based Allergan, that will acquire Pfizer, meaning that one of top corporations in the United States will be moving abroad.


Miley Cyrus and the first-ever jukebox. We've got them both in today's shot of history.

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Brazil's Evangelical Surge Threatens Survival Of Native Afro-Brazilian Faith

Followers of the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda religion in four traditional communities in the country’s northeast are resisting pressure to convert to evangelical Christianity.

image of Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Abel José, an Umbanda priest

Agencia Publica
Géssica Amorim

Among a host of images of saints and Afro-Brazilian divinities known as orixás, Abel José, 42, an Umbanda priest, lights some candles, picks up his protective beads and adjusts the straw hat that sits atop his head. He is preparing to treat four people from neighboring villages who have come to his house in search of spiritual help and treatment for health ailments.

The meeting takes place discreetly, in a small room that has been built in the back of the garage of his house. Abel lives in the quilombo of Sítio Bredos, home to 135 families. The community, located in the municipality of Betânia of Brazil’s northeastern state of Pernambuco, is one of the municipality’s four remaining communities that have been certified as quilombos, the word used to refer to communities formed in the colonial era by enslaved Africans and/or their descendents.

In these villages there are almost no residents who still follow traditional Afro-Brazilian religions. Abel, Seu Joaquim Firmo and Dona Maura Maria da Silva are the sole remaining followers of Umbanda in the communities in which they live. A wave of evangelical missionary activity has taken hold of Betânia’s quilombos ever since the first evangelical church belonging to the Assembleia de Deus group was built in the quilombo of Bredos around 20 years ago. Since then, other evangelical, pentecostal, and neo-pentecostal churches and congregations have established themselves in the area. Today there are now nine temples spread among the four communities, home to roughly 900 families.

The temples belong to the Assembleia de Deus, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the World Church of God's Power, the latter of which has over 6,000 temples spread across Brazil and was founded by the apostle and televangelist Valdemiro Santiago, who became infamous during the pandemic for trying to sell beans that he had blessed as a Covid-19 cure. Assembleia de Deus alone, who are the largest pentecostal denomination in the world, have built five churches in Betânia’s quilombos.

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