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SPOTLIGHT: DEATH IN IRAQ

As the attacks in Paris and Brussels have shown, ISIS is a very real threat to daily life in the West. But as unacceptable as the toll paid by innocent European victims may be, it's always worth remembering who bears the brunt of Islamic terrorism: innocent Muslims. The latest case is in Iraq, where at least 93 people were killed in a Shia neighborhood of Baghdad yesterday, the deadliest attack of the year so far in the country.


Three more people were killed and 10 were wounded today in two suicide explosions at a police station in western Baghdad. Quoted in a report published today in Le Monde, one citizen of the capital describes the latest deadly wave of attacks as "Baghdad routine," amid regular power cuts and never-ending political crises.


ISIS may have lost crucial battles and important parts of territory, but its constant attacks, targeting mostly Shia Muslim communities, are a threat to Iraqi society's very existence, notes Middle East scholar Ranj Alaaldin, in a piece today inThe Guardian. "Rehabilitating Iraq's cities and people will prove to be far more costly and challenging than defeating ISIS itself," he writes. That wars which are won, and missions accomplished, can be undone just as quickly, is a lesson that Iraq knows all too well.


SENATE SUSPENDS DILMA, IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDS

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been officially suspended from office after a 20-hour Senate session that saw 55 vote in favor of her being tried and 22 against. Folha de S. Paulo reports that Vice President Michel Temer, who himself is also facing potential impeachment proceedings, will take over during Dilma's impeachment trial by the Senate, which can last up to 180 days and may well end up in her being definitively removed from office. Brazil-based U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald described Temer as an "unelectable, corrupt neoliberal."



WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY



— ON THIS DAY

A massive earthquake, Alcoholics Anonymous and Tony Hawk all feature in your 57-second shot of history.


FRENCH GOVERNMENT FACES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE

France's Socialist government will face later today a vote of no-confidence that was brought about by its forcing through of a controversial labor reform without a parliamentary vote. Though the government will likely survive the no-confidence vote, the political crisis is likely to extend the damage to President François Hollande, PM Manuel Valls and the ruling Socialist Party, RFI notes. Strikes and demonstrations are also planned for today, and a rail union is calling on workers to go on strike every Wednesday and Thursday for the coming weeks.


$1.5 MILLION

French police are reportedly investigating a suspicious $1.5 million payment made by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid, or people "acting on their behalf," during Japan's successful candidacy to hold the event, The Guardian reports. Tokyo Olympic organizers denied any knowledge of such payment.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Writing in Colombian newspaper El Espectador, journalist Jesus Mesa tells the gripping story of how one illiterate Peruvian farmer faced down a U.S.-based mining firm to save her home and a local lake. "Máxima Acuña didn't set out to be a symbol of resistance. Nor did she seek the kind of international recognition that comes with winning a Goldman Environmental Prize, as she did last week. All she wanted to do was save her home and stop a pair of mining firms from turning her local lake into a toxic dump.

"I am poor and illiterate, but I know our lake and mountains are our real treasure. And I'll fight so that the Conga project doesn't destroy them," says Acuña, a Peruvian subsistence farmer who has engaged in a David vs. Goliath struggle against the Colorado-based Newport Mining Corporation and its Peruvian partner, Buenaventura."

Read the full article: Lady Of The Blue Lake, Peru's Unlikely Environmental Hero.


DEBRIS "ALMOST CERTAINLY" FROM MH370

Two pieces of debris, discovered recently in South Africa and Mauritius, "almost certainly" belong to the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that mysteriously went missing on March 8, 2015, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told reporters.


VERBATIM

"The West in modern times has risen to the top and created a brilliant civilisation, but their media is full of reckless "gossip fiends' who bare their fangs and brandish their claws and are very narcissistic, retaining the bad manners of "barbarians'." That's how the Chinese Communist Party's mouthpiece Global Times responded to media coverage of Queen Elizabeth's gaffe about "very rude" Chinese. More in English from AFP.


— MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH


AN INDIAN PRAYER FOR TRUMP

An anti-Islam group in India held special prayers yesterday in support of Donald Trump, "the only savior of mankind" against the rise of Islamic militancy.

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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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