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Egypt's ISIS, Hollande As Hitler, Spectator Swearing

Egypt's ISIS, Hollande As Hitler, Spectator Swearing

At least 26 people were killed yesterday in a series of attacks by an ISIS-affiliated group in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, Al Jazeera reports. Most of the victims were Egyptian troops, but civilians were also among the victims. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi cut short his visit to Ethiopia, where he was attending an African Union summit. The attacks suggest Cairo’s crackdown on regional militant groups, which included the razing of much of the town of Rafah, on the border with the Gaza Strip, has failed, The New York Times notes.

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On this day in 1948, Gandhi was assassinated. Time for your
57-second shot of history.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack on a military base at Kabul’s airport in which one Afghan and three American civilians were killed. The American victims were Defense Department contractors who were training the Afghanistan air force, AFP reports.

The Jan. 29 front page of Morocco's weekly magazine Alwatan Alane features French President Francois Hollande wearing a Nazi outfit, complete with a swastika armband and Adolf Hitler's trademark mustache. The controversial photomontage is accompanied by the title, "Will the French revive Hitler's concentration camps to exterminate Muslims?"
Read more about it here: Extra! Moroccan Weekly Features Francois Hollande As Hitler.

An ISIS-imposed deadline for a prisoner swap passed yesterday at sunset, but Jordan refused to play ball after the terrorist group failed to provide proof that the Jordan pilot hostage is still alive. It’s unclear what, if anything, happened to the pilot and a second hostage, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. Speaking for the first time since the hostage crisis started, Goto’s wife begged Tokyo and Amman to save her husband. Read more from The Japan Times.

5,260 MILES
Two pilots, American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev, have set a new world record for the longest distance flown in a helium balloon after crossing the Pacific Ocean. The duo is expected to land in Mexico tomorrow and could also break the record for duration.

In its bid to secure support from the UN Security Council in the fight against Boko Haram, the African Union has agreed to plans for the creation of a regional task force of “7,500 women and men” to battle the Islamist sect, France 24 reports. As the terror group’s gains in Nigeria and Cameroon suggest, it could soon pose a regional threat. African Union Commission Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said it had been decided at yesterday’s meeting that “no efforts should be spared” to defeat Boko Haram.

As Les Echos’ Laurence Albert writes, wine-loving France used to be a beer haven too, before shrinking to just 22 breweries three decades ago. Today it's up to more than 700 microbreweries, even if industrialists continue to dominate. “‘The resurrection of breweries is especially linked to the regional sphere,’ says Pascal Chèvremont, executive director of the Association of French Brewers. ‘It actually started in regions with strong identities, such as Corsica or Brittany. New brewers integrated flavors such as chestnut, nougat or cranberry. And regional structures that promote specialties helped them.’”
Read the full article, The Hoppy Comeback Of French Microbreweries.

Eugene de Kock, South Africa’s apartheid death squad leader, was granted parole today after spending 20 years in jail “in the interests of nation-building,” Justice Minister Michael Masutha said. The date and location of his release will not be made public. De Kock, who was nicknamed “Prime Evil” for his role in the torture and murder of black South African activists in the 1980s and early 1990s, expressed remorse at his crimes and had helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims, Masutha said. Read more from South Africa’s daily The Mail & Guardian.


The Israeli government has published its plans to build an extra 450 illegal settlement units in the West Bank, ending a months-long freeze on new construction in Palestinian territories, Haaretz reports. NGOs have denounced the move as “pre-election opportunism” from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ongoing wars in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine have attracted a lot of media coverage, and their predominance is putting people affected by at least 30 other conflicts in even greater danger, experts from the think tank International Crisis Group told Reuters. “The horrific violence you still see in South Sudan is because there is no pressure from public opinion,” the think tank’s president said, adding that 2.4 million people have been displaced in Darfur alone. Similarly, an estimated 7 million people need aid in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“In the heat of the moment you can say stuff that you regret,” British tennis player Andy Murray said after his fiancée Kim Sears was caught on camera swearing during Murray’s hard-fought victory against Tomas Berdych in the semi-final of the Australian Open. While lip readers can’t seem to agree on exactly what she said, they agree there were a lot of F-words.

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food / travel

Legalizing Moonshine, A Winning Political Stand In Poland

Moonshine, typically known as “bimber” in Poland, may soon be legalized by the incoming government. There is a mix of tradition, politics and economics that makes homemade booze a popular issue to campaign on.

Photo of an empty vodka bottle on the ground in Poland

Bottle of vodka laying on the ground in Poland

Leszek Kostrzewski

WARSAWIt's a question of freedom — and quality. Poland's incoming coalition government is busy negotiating a platform for the coming years. Though there is much that still divides the Left, the liberal-centrist Civic Koalition, and the centrist Third Way partners, there is one area where Poland’s new ruling coalition is nearly unanimous: moonshine.

The slogan for the legalization of moonshine (known in Poland as "bimber") was initially presented by Michał Kołodziejczak, the leader of Agrounia, a left-wing socialist political movement in Poland that has qualified to be part of the incoming Parliament.

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”Formerly so-called moonshine was an important element of our cultural landscape, associated with mystery, breaking norms, and freedom from the state," Kołodziejczak said. "It was a reason to be proud, just like the liqueurs that Poles were famous for in the past.”

The president of Agrounia considered the right to make moonshine as a symbol of "subjectivity" that farmers could enjoy, and admitted with regret that in recent years it had been taken away from citizens. “It's also about a certain kind of freedom, to do whatever you want on your farm," Kołodziejczak adds. "This is subjectivity for the farmer. Therefore, I am in favor of providing farmers with the freedom to consume this alcohol for their own use.”

A similar viewpoint was aired by another Parliament member. “We will stop pretending that Polish farmers do not produce moonshine for their own use, such as for weddings,” the representative said, pointing out the benefits of controlling the quality. “Just like they produce slivovitz, which Poland is famous for. It's high time they did it legally.”

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