SPOTLIGHT: "PROVOCATIVE" FRENCH BURKINIS
In France, like elsewhere in the Western world, summer is about going to the beach. Unlike elsewhere in the Western world, this summer it has also become about what women can and cannot wear at public beaches. In what has become a uniquely French flashpoint, so-called burkinis — swimsuits that cover the whole body, worn by religious Muslims — have been banned by several coastal towns.
The latest is the picturesque destination of Sisco, on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, where Mayor Ange-Pierre Vivoni annouced the burkini ban after local youths clashed with beachgoers of North African descent this weekend, reportedly after burkini-clad women objected to their photograph being taken.
France bans headscarves at schools and full-face veils in public under its 1905 law on laïcité, or secularism, which had originally been developed to counter the influence of the Catholic Church. In recent years, the law has been criticized for unfairly singling out Muslims. The Corsican town's ban on burkinis comes after a similar proscription in the cities of Cannes and Villeneuve-Loubet.
France, of course, has seen major attacks by jihadists over the past 18 months. Sisco Mayor Vivoni told expand=1] radio station France Info that locals are scared, and the public wearing of burqas are "provocations." Vivoni, apparently, found no irony in resorting to the same logic religious fundamentalists use to force women to cover their bodies — on and off the beach. There is, it seems, something to feed the clash of cultures in every season.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
Digging for "Nazi gold" train begins in Poland.
Rio Olympics: medal events in badminton, gymnastics, diving, and table tennis.
Gawker Media goes on sale.
MAJOR PRISONER TRANSFER FROM GUANTANAMO
The United States has announced the transfer of 15 detainees from the prison in Guantanamo Bay, the largest such transfer during Barack Obama's presidency. Twelve Yemeni and three Afghan prisoners will be relocated from the prison on the island of Cuba to the United Arab Emirates, bringing the number of Guantanamo detainees down to a low of 61 from 242 when Obama took office in 2009. Read more from the Wall Street Journal.
AIRSTRIKE HITS HOSPITAL IN YEMEN
An airstrike hit a hospital operated by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in northern Yemen yesterday, leaving at least 11 people dead and 19 injured. The attack occurred in territory controlled by Houthi rebels fighting the Yemeni government in the country's civil war.
— ON THIS DAY
Usain Bolt's 2009 world record, Elvis Presley and Madonna in today's shot of history.
CHINA LAUNCHES "HACK-PROOF" SATELLITE
China launched a "hack-proof" quantum communications satellite today, the first of its kind in the world. The satellite uses quantum photons to establish communications, rendering it immune to wiretapping and interception, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Recalling his last year and a half as the editor of Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar describes "attacks, threats, trial, arrest, prison, isolation, insults," and more in his column announcing his resignation from the newspaper. "In July, I had asked for a short break from my newspaper: I would rest a little after this tiring adventure, write my book and then come back to work. Then the bloody coup attempt on July 15 came, and it showed how serious indeed were our warnings up until that point. But the government held us accountable instead of answering for their deep involvement with the coup plotters. All signs were pointing to a new lawlessness and a long period of imprisonment." Read the full article — Turkish Editor Can Dündar: Why I Am Forced Into Exile.
BAN KI-MOON WANTS WOMAN SUCCESSOR
"We have many distinguished and eminent women leaders in national governments and other organizations," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, announcing his preference for a female successor. "There's no reason why not in the United Nations."
EARTHQUAKE IN PERU LEAVES NINE DEAD
A 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck the southern Peruvian region of Arequipa yesterday, killing at least nine people and displacing more than 1,000 families. See photographs from Lima-based daily El Comercio.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
No Limo Today — Philadelphia, 1990
ZAMBIAN OPPOSITION ALLEGES FRAUD
Zambia's main opposition party has alleged fraud after incumbent President Edgar Lungu was declared the winner yesterday of last week's election with 50.35% of the vote, less than three points ahead of opponent Hakainde Hichilema. Read more from the Zambia Post.
MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
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CATALANS PETITION FOR SPECIAL EMOJI
A Catalan cultural association is petitioning the messaging app WhatsApp to include a new emoji depicting a porrón, a traditional spouted glass pitcher. According to Barcelona-based daily La Vanguardia the petition has received over 1,000 signatures, and its promoters argue the wine flask is easily passed hand to hand, helping fellow drinkers "build community."