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Chilling Paris Revelations, Tunis Terror, Pope In Africa

TURKEY-RUSSIA TENSIONS REMAIN HIGH

Photo: Russian Look/ZUMA

"An unprecedented crisis," warns Turkish daily Hürriyet on the front page of its Wednesday edition, a day after two Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border.

Although the downing of the plane sparked fears of increased tension between the two nations, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised speech, "We have no intention to escalate this incident. We are just defending our security and the rights of our brothers."

Turkish authorities insist that the Russian warplane was shot after it repeatedly violated air space above the Turkish border, which Moscow denies. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called the incident "a stab in the back by the terrorists' accomplices," before warning of "serious consequences."

Speaking on TV Wednesday, Putin revealed that one of the pilots had managed to eject and had been rescued by the Syrian army. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said, according to the ministry's Twitter feed, that the country would deploy a missile cruiser near Latakia, Syria, on the Mediterranean coast, CNN reports.


VERBATIM

"This episode can be a moment of understanding and learning," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said upon releasing a graphic dash-cam video showing police officer Jason Van Dyke shoot 16 times 17-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald in October 2014. The video was released after Van Dyke was charged with murder.. After the video was released, hundreds of protesters marched in the streets of Chicago, chanting "16 shots." Read more from The Chicago Tribune.


ON THIS DAY


Happy independence day, Suriname! This and more in your 57-second shot of history.


STATE OF EMERGENCY REINTRODUCED AFTER TUNISIA ATTACK

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has declared a 30-day nationwide state of emergency and a curfew in the capital after a suicide explosion yesterday hit a bus carrying members of his presidential guard in Tunis, The Guardian reports. At least 13 people were killed but no group has claimed responsibility so far. This is the third major terrorist attack to have hit Tunisia this year, after the killings at the Bardo National Museum and in a tourist resort in Sousse. The state of emergency declared after the Sousse attack had only just been lifted.

PARIS ATTACK MASTERMIND HAD ANOTHER ATTACK PLANNED

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the presumed mastermind of the Nov. 13 attacks that killed at least 130 people in Paris and wounded dozens more, had planned to blow himself up with another Islamist terrorist in Paris' business district of La Défense, possibly last Wednesday, the same day when they were both killed in a police raid at dawn in Saint-Denis, the Paris prosecutor François Molins said yesterday. According to Le Figaro, Molins also confirmed that both men had taken part in the shootings on Nov. 13. In a chilling revelation, the prosecutor said that Abaaoud even returned to the crime scene a few hours after the attacks, even as police and rescue operations were ongoing.

  • Jawad Bendaoud, the man who rented out his Saint-Denis flat to Abaaoud and claimed he didn't know the people staying there were terrorists, has been charged. The police believe he helped the terrorists "knowingly."
  • Belgian police meanwhile said that the lockdown of Brussels and the police raids that took place over the weekend had lead to them foiling a planned Paris-style attack against the capital, La Librereports.
  • French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitungthat Europe "cannot welcome more refugees, it's just not possible." It is a surprising U-turn that comes days before regional elections that could further damage the ruling Socialist Party and see the anti-immigration National Front party make notable gains. Valls called on the EU to reinforce its external borders, warning that citizens may turn against the very idea of a European Union.

1 MILLION

China will invest $31 million in a cloning factory where it hopes to create 100,000 cattle a year, a number that will rise to 1 million annually, as Chinese farmers struggle to produce enough meat to satisfy booming demand, Xinhua reports. The factory, which will be located in Tianjin, is due to open in the first half of 2016.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

The killers and victims of the Paris violence are part of the same demographic, though they share different realities. Authorities haven't heard the angst, but rap has been telling us for years how little the two groups share, Marie-Pierre Genecand writes for Le Temps: "The hatred and cruelty is unbearable. Almost as much as the lyrics of 35-year-old French rapper Kaaris, whose hugely successful track "Chargé" ("Loaded") last year goes like this: I dream of blowing up the ministry, And get blown by the chief of police's widow. This world swallows and digests you, Hear the bullets whistle, from the 93French department near Paristo Niger. The chorus then uses common French slang for Kalashnikov: Kalash is loaded, kalash is loaded, kalash is loaded."

Read the full article, Kalash Is Loaded: French Gangsta Rap, Before And After Paris Attacks.


POPE TO AFRICA

For the first time since the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis is travelling to Africa, where he will visit Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic, Vatican Radio reports. During his visit, the pontiff is expected to address growing conflicts between Catholics and Muslims, especially in the Central African Republic, where he will visit a mosque in one of the capital's most dangerous districts. The African continent has seen the Catholic population grow by more than 230% since the 1980s.


BUSINESSMAN CLOSE TO LULA ARRESTED IN BRAZIL CORRUPTION PROBE

Brazilian police have arrested José Carlos Bumlai, a businessman close to former President Lula da Silva, over allegations of fraud related to the Petrobras scandal, Folha de S. Paulo reports. The 71-year-old is suspected of having played an important role in a series of bribes and frauds that enable the ruling Workers' Party of Lula and current President Dilma Rousseff to pay off the debt accumulated during the campaign that led to Lula's reelection for a second term in 2006. Read more in English from AP.


PORTUGAL'S NEW GOVERNMENT

It took 51 days, but Portugal's left parties have now formed a government after obtaining a majority of votes and Parliament seats in the Oct. 4 general election, Díario Económico reports. The leader of the Socialist Party, António Costa, is the new Prime Minister and will lead a coalition together with the anti-austerity Left Bloc and the Communist Party, a prospect that initially led President Cavaco Silva to block them from forming a government. But the new PM, who promised to bring austerity policies to an end is now facing a tough fight against Brussels.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



WORLD'S WORST NAME WAS A HOAX

The Australian man who claimed his name was "Phuc Dat Bich" is actually really called Joe Carr, and he totally took the media for a ride.

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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