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China's "Black Monday," Train Heroes Honored, World's Oldest Man

BLACK MONDAY IN CHINA

Photo: Zhang Yixi/Xinhua/ZUMA

Chinese stocks plunged 8.5% today after their worst trading day since the beginning of the 2007 financial crisis. What Xinhua described as "Black Monday" saw the Shanghai Composite index's entire gains for the year wiped out after weeks of free fall, despite strong government intervention. The crisis intensified after Beijing's decision to devalue its currency, and more than $5 trillion has been wiped off global stocks since then, with falling oil prices among the other factors behind the global plunge, according to The Daily Telegraph's live blog.

  • Shares across Asia and emerging economies were also hit by the global sell-off. Japan's Nikkei reached a six-month low, dropping 4.6%, its biggest decline in two years.
  • European stocks opened down this morning with Bloomberg warning that Germany's DAX is "headed for a bear market."

VERBATIM

"We need a clear apology and measures to prevent a recurrence of these provocations and tense situations," South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a statement yesterday, just days after exchanging fire with North Korea. There are heightened tensions between the two countries over landmines that injured South Korean soldiers earlier this month. Pyongyang has denied planting the landmines, but Seoul insists on an apology.


FRANCE HONORS THALYS "HEROES"

French President François Hollande this morning bestowed the Légion d'Honneur, France's highest award, on the three Americans and the Briton who foiled the Friday attack on a Thalys train bound for Paris, France 24 reports. The four men overpowered a 25-year-old Moroccan gunman, Ayoub El-Khazzani, as he fired his Kalashnikov and injured one passenger. French authorities suspect the shooting was an attempted terrorist attack. But Khazzani, who had been flagged by intelligence services in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain as an Islamist extremist, denied the terrorism allegations and claimed he found the weapons in a Brussels park and decided to rob train passengers.


EXTRA!

Jamaican running legend Usain Bolt defended his 100-meter title yesterday at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, finishing in 9.79 seconds. Read more in our Extra! feature.


ISIS DESTROYS ANCIENT PALMYRA TEMPLE

ISIS jihadists in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra "blew up" a UNESCO-listed temple built in 17 AD, almost 2,000 years ago, the BBC reports. The Temple of Baal Shamin was one of Palmyra's best known buildings, and large parts of it were almost intact. According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the temple was destroyed a month ago. The news comes one week after ISIS militants beheaded Khaled al-Asaad, Palmyra's 82-year-old retired chief archaeologist.


EU LEADERS MEET OVER MIGRANT CRISIS

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande will meet in Berlin later today to discuss the ongoing migrant crisis, with the surge of people from the Middle East and Africa showing no signs of slowing. Italian coastguards on Saturday rescued some 4,400 people from 22 inflatable dinghies and overcrowded boats, meaning more than 108,000 have now reached Italy since the beginning of the year. The government in Macedonia, meanwhile, reopened its border with Greece, prompting an estimated 7,000 migrants to cross the country to reach Serbia. Read more from AFP.


ON THIS DAY


Happy 57th birthday to English comedian Stephen Fry. That and more in today's shot of history.


LEBANON PROTESTS END IN CLASHES

Thousands of protesters flooded Beirut streets Saturday and Sunday to protest the government's failure to solve a garbage crisis that's been engulfing the city for weeks, as well as corruption and power cuts. But what started as a peaceful march ended in looting and violent clashes with the police, while protesters called on the government to resign, Lebanese newspaper L'Orient Le Jourreports. At least 402 people were injured on Sunday and a third day of protests planned for today has been postponed as a result.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Believe it or not, it's possible to spend an entire day in Monaco, on the French Riviera, off the tourist trail and far from ostentatious jewelry and pampered princesses. "Few places in the world are as marked by clichés as Monaco, with its casinos, Ferraris, gleaming "60s-era high-rises and glitzy royal family, a mainstay of the world's tabloids since American actress Grace Kelly became princess of the sovereign city-state in 1956," Le Monde's Sylvie Chayette writes. "On a market day in the district of La Condamine, the parade ground is overflowing with small bars. They are selling the renowned barbajuans, an appetizer that looks like giant ravioli. It's generally stuffed with Swiss chard, cheese and meat. You can also try the socca, a traditional dish made with chickpea flatbread. Otherwise, the Oceanographic Museum's panoramic restaurant offers a stunning view, perched as it is 85 meters above the sea."

Read the full article, 24 Hours In Monaco, But Away From The Garish And Gaudy.


MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD



112

Guinness World Records has formally recognized Yasutaro Koide, a 112-year-old living in the central Japanese city of Nagoya, as the world's oldest man. His secret to longevity? "Enjoy everything" and don't "overdo."

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Coronavirus

Will China's Zero COVID Ever End?

Too much has been put in to the state-sponsored truth that minimal spread of the virus is the at-all-cost objective. But if the Chinese economy continues to suffer, Xi Jinping may have no choice but to second guess himself.

COVID testing in Guiyang, China

Cfoto/DDP via ZUMA
Deng Yuwen

The tragic bus accident in Guiyang last month — in which 27 people being sent to quarantine were killed — was one of the worst examples of collateral damage since the COVID-19 pandemic began in China nearly three years ago. While the crash can ultimately be traced back to bad government policy, the local authorities did not register it as a Zero COVID related casualty. It was, for them, a simple traffic accident.

The officials in the southern Chinese province of Guizhou, of course, had no alternative. Drawing a link between the deadly crash and the strict policy of Zero COVID, touted by President Xi Jinping, would have revealed the absurdity of the government's choices.

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