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EU Migrant Meeting, VW Recall, Boorish Boris

EU Migrant Meeting, VW Recall, Boorish Boris


EU leaders are set to meet in Brussels today to discuss measures that could help stem the flow of refugees, with a focus on countries outside of Europe such as Turkey, Euronews reports. In a speech to German parliament this morning, Chancellor Angela Merkel said providing more support to Turkey could play a key role in the crisis. "Most war refugees that come to Europe travel via Turkey," she said. "We won't be able to order and stem the refugee movement without working together with Turkey."


Attacks continued in parts of Jerusalem yesterday after Israeli authorities created new checkpoints between Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods. Police shot and killed a man who reportedly stabbed and injured a 70-year-old woman at the city's main bus station. Another Palestinian was shot dead as he tried to stab a police officer near the Old City, the BBC reports.

  • Meanwhile, the Palestinian envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour said the situation was "very explosive" and that the Security Council had to find ways of "providing protection" to the Palestinians, Al Jazeera reports.
  • Suggestions by the U.S. State Department that Israel might be using "excessive force" to confront the wave of stabbing attacks by Palestinians drew sharp criticism from senior Israeli cabinet ministers today, Reuters reports.
  • In the past two weeks, 32 Palestinians and 7 Israelis have been killed in the violence.


In an exclusive interview with glossy French magazine Paris Match conducted at his modest apartment in the Vatican, Pope Francis bemoaned greed and the "idolatry of money" that's driving the world to ruin. Read more in Le Blog.


President Barack Obama will keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when he leaves office in 2017, according to senior administration officials, casting aside his promise to end the war on his watch and instead ensuring he hands the conflict off to his successor, the AP reports.


"The reply we have had from Britain is that he can leave whenever he likes for any medical care he might need, but the European arrest warrant for Assange is still valid. In other words, ‘he can leave — and we will put him in jail,'" The Guardian quoted Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño as saying today. Ecuador had requested that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange be allowed "safe passage" out of its embassy in London so he could receive a medical examination for shoulder pain in a hospital. The website Justice for Assange said the 44-year-old needed an MRI that can only be done with equipment that cannot be brought to the embassy due to size and weight. This comes after the UK called off its 24-hour surveillance of the Ecuadorian embassy, where Assange has been living for 40 months.


Myanmar's government signed a ceasefire deal with eight ethnic minority rebel groups today in the capital Nay Pyi Taw, The Irrawaddy reports. It comes after two years of peace talks but is weakened by the absence of seven of the 15 groups involved in the negotiations, including the largest armed groups the United Wa State Army and the Kachin Independence Organisation. President Thein Sein, whose army-backed party will likely be swept from power in November, said that "even though the agreement is not nationwide yet, we will try harder to gain the agreement with other groups." Myanmar has been in state of civil war with various armed groups since it gained independence from Britain in 1948.


Photo: Arne Dedert/DPA/ZUMA

It took one minute and 12 seconds for 10,200 editions of the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records to fall Wednesday at the Frankfurt Book Fair, beating the world record for book dominoes.


Washington is set to deploy about 300 troops to Cameroon to help a multinational task force composed of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin counter the spread of Boko Haram in Western Africa, NBC News reports. President Barack Obama notified Congress that about 90 military personnel, backed by drones, began deploying Monday to conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations in the region.


With writing and then printing, man had already externalized a part of his memory. But as Jacques Henno reports for Les Echos, those transformations pale, in both speed and breadth, in comparison to the current digital revolution. "A study conducted on 6,000 Europeans a few months ago by Kaspersky Lab, which specializes in cyber security, revealed that 43% of the respondents between 16 and 24 years old believe their smartphones contains practically everything they need to know or remember," Henno writes. "Some experts, like Nicholas Carr, author of Does the Internet Make You Dumber? or to a lesser extent, Betsy Sparrow, from the department of psychology at New York's Columbia University, believe that youth today suffer from ‘digital amnesia.'"

Read the full article, Will Technology Make Human Memory Obsolete?


Syrian troops backed by allied Russian jets launched an attack on rebel-held positions north of the government-held city of Homs today, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports. Russian warplanes reportedly carried out 15 raids in the area. Recapturing the area would help reassert Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's control over the main population centers of western Syria and secure territory linking Damascus to the coastal heartland of his minority Alawite sect, Reuters reports.



The German automotive watchdog KBA (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) has ordered Volkswagen to recall 2.4 million cars in Germany as a result of the emissions falsification scandal revealed last month, Die Welt reports. The KBA reportedly also rejected a Volkswagen proposal that car owners be allowed to bring in their cars voluntarily for repair.


Our good old Gregorian calendar was introduced exactly 433 years ago today. This, and more, in your 57-second shot of history.


London Mayor Boris Johnson knocked expand=1] a 10-year-old Japanese schoolboy to the ground today while playing street rugby in Tokyo. Toki Sekiguchi, the victim, later said the encounter had been "enjoyable."

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGO — TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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