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Calais To Lampedusa, And Back Again

Following weeks of planning, the operation finally began this morning before daybreak: It was time to dismantle the infamous Calais "Jungle." Again. The Jungle is home to an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 migrants, most of them are young men from Africa and the Middle East, living in squalid conditions who wish to cross the Channel to the UK. Buses started to leave Calais this morning, transporting the migrants to refugee centers scattered across France. Britain, meanwhile, has agreed to take in part of the 1,300 unaccompanied minors from the camp.

But many are already suggesting that the move, which required some 1,250 French police, will do little to solve a situation that often seems Sisyphean. Opponents in France say the move is too little, too late, and have denounced the distribution of the migrants across the country, which in various cases has been the subject of protests in towns and villages.

This isn't the first time the Jungle has been dismantled. Another attempt happened earlier this year, but the very first operation of this kind took place back in 2002. Though Europe's migration crisis has made for major worldwide headlines the past two years, the issue is hardly new. And Clare Moseley, the British founder of Care4Calais, says it won't be different this time around: "I think people will still come. With refugees, deterrents don't matter because a refugee by definition is fleeing something," The Guardian quoted her as saying. "In February, they demolished over half of the camp and yet here we are seven months later, with a camp bigger than it's ever been."

Whether it is permanently eliminated or rises again, Calais is no doubt destined to be a symbol of the desperation and intractability of these mass movements of people. The same could be said for another emblematic location, the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa. According to La Stampa, Italian coast guard boats rescued 4,292 migrants who were trying to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa, in various operations over the past day. Eighteen people died.



The Turkish air force carried out airstrikes against ISIS positions around Mosul yesterday, after Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters requested their assistance, Al Jazeera reports. The anti-ISIS coalition is now reported just three miles from the city.


An EU ultimatum for Belgium's federal government to secure Wallonia's backing of a proposed EU-Canada trade deal expires late today with little chance of a change. Paul Magnette, the leader of the Wallonia region which is blocking the deal, rejected the ultimatum yesterday and said that such an approach "is not compatible with the exercise of democratic rights."


The United Nations was founded on this day 71 years ago. But there's more, in your 57-second shot of history.


Spain's caretaker Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will be able to form a minority government, after his Socialist rivals decided yesterday not to block him and his Popular Party from a second term in office, El País reports. The decision puts an end to 10 months of a political stalemate and removes the prospect of a third general election in less than a year.


Nobody expects parents to be 100% available for their children, all the time. But with the rise of smartphones and tablets, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung's Werner Bartens asks if the internet is bad for your parenting skills. "Parents ... say they feel overwhelmed by the information overload, that they're under constant pressure to spend time at work and with their children, and cultivate a social life as well.

Parents also described how mobile communication influences their mood. If bad news concerning work trickles in, the parent gets annoyed and starts focusing on his or her phone screen. Children increasingly try to attract the parent's attention, which may prompt the parents — even more annoyed — start yelling at them."

Read the full article, Parenting In Our Digital Age, Kids Suffer From Your Distraction.


Hanjin Shipping, one of the world's largest container carriers, announced today it would soon close its European business, in what The Wall Street Journal says is "the latest sign that the troubled company is heading toward liquidation." The South Korean company's shares plunged after the announcement.


Infernal Dante — Ravenna, 1969


The Chicago Cubs will be going to the World Series for the first time since 1945, so ticket prices are naturally going through the roof. The cheapest ticket for Game 3 on Friday, the first one in Chicago, has already reached $2,233, with the average ticket costing more than $8,600.



Check out this expand=1] timelapse video of a seriously talented Seattle artist painting a giant portrait of David Bowie as Major Tom, in the bottom of a swimming pool.

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Turkey: The Blind Spots Between Racial And Religious Discrimination

Before the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war, a social media campaign in Turkey aimed to take on anti-Arab and anti-refugee sentiment. But the campaign ultimately just swapped one type of discrimination for another.

photo of inside Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque

Muslims and tourists visiting Istanbul's Eminonu New Mosque.

Levent Gültekin


ISTANBUL — In late September, several pro-government journalists in Turkey promoted a social media campaign centered around a video against those in the country who are considered anti-Arab. The campaign was built around the idea of being “siblings in religion,” and the “union of the ummah,” or global Muslim community.

(In a very different context, such sentiments were repeated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the Israel-Hamas war erupted.)

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While the goal is understandable, these themes are highly disconnected from reality.

First, let's look at the goal of the campaign. Our country has a serious problem of irregular migrants and refugees, and the administration isn’t paying adequate attention to this. On the contrary, they encourage the flow of refugees with policies such as selling citizenship.

Worries about irregular migrants and refugees naturally create tension in the society. The anger that targets not the government but the refugees has come to a point which both threatens the social peace and brought the issue to hostility towards the Arabs, even the tourists. The actual goal of this campaign by the pro-government journalists is obvious if you consider how an anti-tourist movement would hurt Turkey’s economy.

However, as mentioned above, while the goal is understandable, the themes of the “union of the ummah” and “siblings in religion” are problematic. The campaign offers the idea of being siblings in religion as an argument against the rising racism towards irregular migrants and refugees; a different form of racism or discrimination.

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