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China Shipwreck, Greek Debt Talks, Bye-Bye Love Locks

China Shipwreck, Greek Debt Talks, Bye-Bye Love Locks


At least 400 people were missing this morning after a Chinese ship carrying 458 passengers and crew was hit by an apparent cyclone and sank in the Yangtze River late yesterday, Chinese news agency Xinhua reports. So far, there are only 15 to 18 survivors, and just five bodies recovered, as rescuers battle poor weather conditions. Xinhua reported that rescuers could hear people calling for help from inside the ship’s hull, and television news showed it being cut through with an angle grinder. The ship’s captain and chief engineer are reportedly among the survivors and are being detained by authorities. No distress call was issued from the ship, which reportedly sunk in just two minutes.


“It’s not enough,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi said today during an anti-ISIS conference in Paris, complaining about a lack of support from the international coalition fighting the terrorist organization. “Air support is not enough. There is too little surveillance. ISIS is mobile and moves in very small groups,” Reuters quoted him as saying. About 4,000 airstrikes have been carried out against the Islamist group in the past 10 months, Le Monde reports. But the jihadists have made significant progress recently in both Ramadi, Iraq, and Palmyra, Syria. The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq has recognized the need to increase its military engagement in the region, including additional airstrikes and the military training of Iraqi and local Sunni forces. Iraq’s prime minister is also expected to outline his government’s plan to recapture Ramadi and the region from ISIS.


Jérôme Valcke, FIFA secretary general and right-hand man of the soccer organization’s president Sepp Blatter, could be the “high-ranking FIFA official” that U.S. authorities believe is the source of a 2008 $10 million embezzlement, The New York Times reports. “The revelation puts the money trail closer to Mr. Blatter, FIFA’s president, than had been previously known,” the newspaper reported. Last week, an indictment accused Jack Warner, FIFA’s then-vice president, of receiving a bribe for helping South Africa become the host country for the 2010 World Cup. But in an email to The New York Times, Valcke claimed he had not authorized the payment and “did not have the power to do so.” So far, he hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing.


It’s been 62 years to the day since Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England. Learn more June 2 facts in your 57-second shot of history.


Charles Kennedy, former leader of the UK’s Liberal-Democrat party, died suddenly this morning at his home in Scotland at the age of 55, his family has announced. The cause of his death has yet to be confirmed, The Guardian reports. Kennedy led the party from 1999 to 2006, during which he was one of the few British political leaders to oppose the Iraq war. The political world has been paying tribute.


Photo: Pascal Potier/Visual/ZUMA

Paris city officials have begun removing thousands of padlocks from the French capital’s main bridges. Attaching a “love lock” to the Pont des Arts (pictured here), for example, before throwing the key into the Seine below has become a tourist tradition in recent years, but some of the bridge’s railings collapsed under the weight last year. Close to a million locks weighing 45 tons are due to be removed over the next few days.


The heads of the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank unexpectedly joined last night’s talks on the Greek debt crisis in Berlin. French President François Hollande and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who were scheduled to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel, were joined by the IMF chief Christine Lagarde and ECB chief Mario Draghi, who flew to Berlin to try to help find a way out for Greece. Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says his government has submitted a draft proposal for an agreement, AP reports. Read more in our Extra! feature.


In a Le Monde editorial, Tsipras issues an ultimatum to Eurozone partners and other negotiators as his country’s debt crisis reaches a critical hour. “Today, Europe has the opportunity to make decisions that will trigger a rapid recovery of the Greek and European economy by ending Grexit scenarios, scenarios that prevent the long-term stabilization of the European economy and may, at any given time, weaken the confidence of both citizens and investors in our common currency,” he writes. “Many claim that the Greek side is not cooperating to reach an agreement because it comes to the negotiations intransigent and without proposals. … I would like to take this opportunity to present the truth, and to responsibly inform the world’s public opinion about the real intentions and positions of Greece.”

Read the full Worldcrunch translation, Greece Will Not Cede Its Democracy.


Nine people, including seven aid workers, were killed when militants attacked a guesthouse in northern Afghanistan early this morning, AFP reports. Deputy provincial Police Chief Abdul Razaq Qaderi blamed the Taliban for the attack and said two guards were among those killed. The terror group has carried out several similar attacks on foreign workers recently.



Armed tribesmen killed 18 Houthi fighters in an ambush in Yemen's central province of Ibb today, Reuters quoted local residents as saying. The attack reportedly hit a convoy of militiamen and allied army troops while they were en route to the town of Taiz in southern Yemen. The region has been a flashpoint of violent clashes between Yemen’s dominant Houthis and armed backers of exiled president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Muslim woman who was denied a job in 2008 at age 17 by an Oklahoma Abercrombie & Fitch store because she wore a headscarf for religious reasons, Reuters reports. Samantha Elauf had been rejected under Abercrombie’s “look policy” for sales staff after she came to an interview wearing a black headscarf.


Former Olympic athlete Caitlyn Jenner set a new Twitter record after attracting a million followers just four hours after opening her account yesterday. That’s faster than @POTUS.

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In Northern Kenya, Where Climate Change Is Measured In Starving Children

The worst drought in 40 years, which has deepened from the effects of climate change, is hitting the young the hardest around the Horn of Africa. A close-up look at the victims, and attempts to save lives and limit lasting effects on an already fragile region in Kenya.

Photo of five mothers holding their malnourished children

At feeding time, nurses and aides encourage mothers to socialize their children and stimulate them to eat.

Georgina Gustin

KAKUMA — The words "Stabilization Ward" are painted in uneven black letters above the entrance, but everyone in this massive refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya, calls it ya maziwa: The place of milk.

Rescue workers and doctors, mothers and fathers, have carried hundreds of starving children through the doors of this one-room hospital wing, which is sometimes so crowded that babies and toddlers have to share beds. A pediatric unit is only a few steps away, but malnourished children don’t go there. They need special care, and even that doesn’t always save them.

In an office of the International Rescue Committee nearby, Vincent Opinya sits behind a desk with figures on dry-erase boards and a map of the camp on the walls around him. “We’ve lost 45 children this year due to malnutrition,” he says, juggling emergencies, phone calls, and texts. “We’re seeing a significant increase in malnutrition cases as a result of the drought — the worst we’ve faced in 40 years.”

From January to June, the ward experienced an 800 percent rise in admissions of children under 5 who needed treatment for malnourishment — a surge that aid groups blame mostly on a climate change-fueled drought that has turned the region into a parched barren.

Opinya, the nutrition manager for the IRC here, has had to rattle off these statistics many times, but the reality of the numbers is starting to crack his professional armor. “It’s a very sad situation,” he says, wearily. And he believes it will only get worse. A third year of drought is likely on the way.

More children may die. But millions will survive malnutrition and hunger only to live through a compromised future, researchers say. The longer-term health effects of this drought — weakened immune systems, developmental problems — will persist for a generation or more, with consequences that will cascade into communities and societies for decades.

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